A parent is forgetful: Does that mean mental illness is present?

Many Georgia residents are adult children of aging parents. While some are helping their loved ones with long-term care planning issues, others are doing their best to help their mothers or fathers transition to assisted-living facilities. There are also many adult children who are dealing with the ravages of mental illness in the very people who loved and cared for them their whole lives.

A certain degree of mental decline may be expected with age. However, there are numerous issues that may make an older man or woman more prone to certain types of mental illness, such as depression or dementia. Moving from an independent living environment to assisted living is one of those issues.

Alcohol or substance abuse also creates a propensity toward mental health problems, especially in people who are age 65 or older. There are also physical illnesses that can have negative impacts on mental health, especially in terms of memory, emotional well-being and cognitive processes. Forgetting minor details (even on a somewhat regular basis) does not necessarily mean dementia or other mental health trouble is present.

However, persistent memory problems may indeed be a sign of an underlying health issue. When mental illness progresses so far that a parent is no longer able to make sound decisions or care for him or herself, adult children may seek guardianship. Many legal issues can arise regarding estate plans or long-term care; an experienced Georgia elder law attorney can provide support to any adult child in need of legal guidance concerning such matters.

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