People of any age can suffer from bipolar disorder, including older adults. In fact, some studies indicate that approximately 10 percent of new cases of bipolar disorder occur in people who are aged 50 or older. Research also shows that when bipolar disorder goes untreated, it can get worse as time goes on. Knowing the signs of bipolar disorder can help to ensure your aging relative receives the treatment they need.

Overview of Bipolar Disorder

Elder Care Rogue River, OR:What Are the Signs of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder used to be referred to as manic depression. It is a mental health disorder that causes the older adult to experience intense mood swings ranging between emotional highs, called mania, and lows, called depression. During mania, the senior may be energetic and have a feeling of euphoria. They could also be unusually irritable. During a period of depression, they might feel sad, hopeless, and have little interest in their usual activities. During the mood swings, your aging relative might have trouble sleeping, make poor decisions, or exhibit behavior changes.

A person with bipolar disorder might have mood swings only once in a while or several times per year. In many cases, they will also have symptoms that occur between mood swings, though some people won’t. The condition isn’t curable. However, there are treatments available that can help to manage symptoms. Treatment typically includes both medications and psychotherapy.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

There are different kinds of bipolar disorder, so people experience different symptoms depending on which kind they have. In addition, the frequency and duration of symptoms and mood swings can vary. The symptoms also change according to whether the person is experiencing mania or depression.

Symptoms of mania include:

  • Being abnormally upbeat or wired and jumpy.
  • Having more energy and being more active than usual.
  • Feeling excessively confident and an increased sense of well-being.
  • Needing to sleep less.
  • Talking a lot more than usual.
  • Being easily distracted.
  • Making poor decisions.

Symptoms of depression are:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or being tearful.
  • Lack of interest in activities that they usually enjoy.
  • Weight loss not due to intentional dieting or an increased appetite.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Fatigue.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.

If your older family member is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, elder care can help them to live a better life and manage the condition. An elder care provider can remind the senior to take their medication regularly, which is important to keeping symptoms at bay. Since a healthy routine is part of treating the condition, an elder care provider can assist with sticking to the established schedule, such as getting up at the same time each day and eating meals regularly.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elder Care in Rogue River, OR, please contact the caring staff at Southern Oregon In-Home Care today! Proudly Serving Seniors in Josephine & Jackson Counties, Oregon. Call us today! (541) 236-4247.