March 30th is World Bipolar Day. If your mom has bipolar disorder, she’s likely had it for a long time. Most cases are diagnosed around the mid-20s. What if she seems to fit the criteria for bipolar disorder, but she’s older? She could be dealing with late-onset bipolar disorder. These are the things you need to know.
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is a form of mental illness where the person with the illness goes through extreme highs and lows. A person might be extremely happy and jubilant one day and depressed and not moving from bed the next.
When you have bipolar disorder, maintaining healthy relationships is a struggle. You may welcome friends warmly one minute and push them away. Over time, they may give up and not want to deal with the constant changes. It can also make it hard to maintain a job. Some with bipolar disorder self-medicate and end up with drug or alcohol addictions.
After a diagnosis is made, the person will be on medications and may also go into therapy to help control the moods. It’s important for the person to be open with family and friends to help them better understand the disease and why your moods may change so frequently.
Understanding Late-Onset Bipolar Disorder
While most people are diagnosed by the age of 40, some people are not diagnosed correctly or don’t realize their mood swings are not normal. When the mental illness is diagnosed after the age of 50, it’s late-onset.
The problem with late-onset bipolar disorder is that it can mimic other health conditions like dementia, mini-strokes, or thyroid issues. You might find she is irritable, forgetful, no longer interested in hobbies or social activities, or sleeping patterns change. If your mom is having any of those, it’s important that she sees her doctor and is honest about her symptoms.
Get Ready to Be Pushy
When you talk to your mom’s doctor, you may have to push to get your concerns addressed. If the doctor doesn’t seem to be taking you seriously, demand a referral to see a specialist in mental health issues. You can get other opinions. At the same time, if the doctor is ready to prescribe a medication without really spending time with your mom, you also need to demand to see a specialist.
When mental health issues are present, your mom will benefit from companionship. She may want to isolate herself, but you need to advocate for her to stay social. It’s beneficial to her physical and mental health. Find caregivers who offer companionship services and will help your mom with medication reminders. It will help her mood and bring back the mom you’re missing.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional Senior Care in Gardendale, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.
They have three teenage children and are actively involved in their church and community – both teach high school Sunday school while Dennis coaches youth sports and Kelly leads a women’s Bible study. Dennis & Kelly personally manage the daily activities of the company.
It is their passion and commitment to providing quality and responsive service that has made their company the fastest growing home care agency in Birmingham.
They believe that being an independently owned and operated company gives them the flexibility to manage their business in a way that better serves their clients.
They understand you have a choice in care providers and they will do their utmost to earn your trust.