The McPherson Family Life Center joins the international community to celebrate World Mental Health Day today.

The McPherson Family Life Center joins the international community to celebrate World Mental Health Day today.
The day is celebrated at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health, and WHO supports this initiative through raising awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of health and civil society organizations across the globe.
This year, the theme selected is Mental Health and Older Adults, which aims to promote healthy and active aging through the participation of meaningful activities, maintenance of strong personal relationships and good physical health.
The theme also advocates for broader interventions to address the growing concern of mental health of persons 60 years and older who many times contend with loss of ability to live independently because of limited physical mobility or mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, many older persons worldwide contend with the effects of dementia which generally is unique to this population.
There are many different forms, or causes, of dementia. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60–70% of cases. Dementia affects each person in a different way, depending upon the impact of the disease and the person’s personality before becoming ill.
The signs and symptoms linked to dementia can be understood in three stages.
The early stage of dementia is often overlooked, because the onset is gradual. Common symptoms include forgetfulness, losing track of the time, becoming lost in familiar places.
As dementia progresses to the middle stage, the signs and symptoms become clearer and more restricting. These include becoming forgetful of recent events and people's names, becoming lost at home, having increasing difficulty with communication, needing help with personal care or experiencing behavior changes, including wandering and repeated questioning.
The late stage of dementia is one of near total dependence and inactivity. Memory disturbances are serious and the physical signs and symptoms become more obvious. Symptoms include becoming unaware of the time and place, having difficulty recognizing relatives and friends, having an increasing need for assisted self-care, having difficulty walking and experiencing behavior changes that may escalate and include aggression.
“Dementia can be overwhelming for the families of affected people and for their caregivers. Physical, emotional and economic pressures can cause great stress,” said McPherson Family Life Center Executive Director Alana Murphy. “Our agency can help individuals and their family’s process and adjust to the life changes dementia brings to their family through individual or group counseling. That’s one way we can help stand in the gap alongside the family as they are learning to navigate in the world of mental illness.”
Murphy also shared other county agencies that provides services for older adults; McPherson County Council on Aging, numerous Senior Centers and the “Active Older Adults” senior programming at McPherson Family YMCA.

Key facts of dementia
- Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform everyday activities.
- Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of aging.
- Worldwide, 35.6 million people have dementia and there are 7.7 million new cases every year.
- Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia and may contribute to 60–70 percent of cases.
- Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people worldwide.
- Dementia has physical, psychological, social and economical impact on caregivers, families and society.