For many folks and their families, the mental symptoms of aging are far more jarring that then physical. In part because they are harder to diagnosis, measure, or quantify and in part because of the emotional weight of a mentally ill loved one, mental health symptoms can be the most upsetting.
Some triggers to look for are excessive or increasing alcohol or drug use, planned and unplanned environmental changes, illness of oneself or a loved one, loss of a loved one, long-term physical illness, medication changes, and change in diet or exercise. These may prompt some behavioral changes like more or less socializing, unexplained physical illness, appearance changes, and increased confusion.
For elderly folks, we advise keeping a journal, paying close attention to your feelings, talking to peers, and sharing concerns with loved ones. And for the loved ones, be patient, be attentive, and be open. If you have already put elderly and estate plans into place, you can truly focus on the mental wellness of yourself or your loved one without having to worry as much about the logistics of aging.