Taking care of parents as they age can be a highly emotional and challenging experience as many adult children in Georgia can undoubtedly attest. Some situations are a bit more stressful than others, such as those involving a parent with mental illness. Mental decline is not always immediately apparent.

There are often certain issues or circumstances that arise in a person’s life just before the onset of mental decline. For instance, many elderly people become mentally ill after being diagnosed with a physical chronic illness of some kind. Grief is often another condition that can lead to mental illness. When a man or woman loses a spouse to whom he or she has been married for 60 or 70 years, he or she may simply not be able to cope with the sorrow.

Chronic substance abuse can also negatively impact an aging parent’s mental health. Many older people take prescription medication that can definitely affect their brains. Differentiating between typical mental decline in the elderly and actual mental illness can be difficult. Mental illness is often preceded by constant states of agitation, trouble sleeping, severe changes in mood or appetite, and unusual behavior toward others.

If mental illness takes its toll on a Georgia resident’s loved one, the adult child involved may wish to speak to a elder law attorney regarding guardianship and convservatorship. Doing so in a timely manner can prevent legal complications down the line. Most mental illnesses grow increasingly worse over time, so the sooner such matters are addressed, the better, in most cases.