Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Seniors

The Hidden Battle Against Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Seniors


According to experts, seniors battling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) often don’t receive the help they need to overcome their affliction. That’s because seniors may not have the same mental health insurance they had while working, and they might not be able to afford private mental health care, if they have it at all.

Additionally, seniors with OCD may suffer from another physical ailment, making diagnosing their OCD at first glance difficult. It’s easy to believe that the elderly have little to worry about, especially when they live in their own homes and don’t have children or spouses to look after them. While this may be true to some extent, other areas are entirely out of their control, one of which is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Seniors are among the most vulnerable members of society, often facing challenges including isolation, loneliness, and mental health issues. The most common mental illness affecting seniors today is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD can lead to excessive time spent on daily routines, such as constantly double-checking that doors are locked or turning off stoves. It can also result in repetitive actions and thoughts, such as ordering items in a certain way or cleaning until everything sparkles.

What Is OCD?

OCD is a mental disorder that causes people to have unwanted and intrusive thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. OCD can be debilitating, making it hard for people to function in their everyday lives. Seniors with OCD may have trouble with activities of daily living, such as cooking or cleaning. They may also have difficulty keeping up with their hygiene. When anxious, they often respond by engaging in ritualistic behavior to alleviate the anxiety. For example, if they think about harming themselves, they might start washing their hands excessively or checking the locks on the doors multiple times.

Why Do Seniors Get OCD?

There are many different reasons that a senior might start to experience OCD. It could be due to changes in their brain chemistry, medications, or underlying health conditions. Whatever the cause, getting help is essential if you think a loved one is struggling with OCD. The earlier you catch and treat the condition, the better your chances of success. That’s why seeking treatment from a qualified psychologist can make all the difference for seniors battling this mental illness.

Curing & Preventing OCD

Although the root causes of OCD are still unknown, many effective treatments are available. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most common and successful forms of treatment for OCD. CBT works by helping patients to change the way they think about and respond to their obsessions and compulsions. In addition to CBT, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can also help treat OCD.

How To Help A Senior With OCD

As our loved ones age, it’s essential to be aware of the mental health challenges they may face. One such challenge is OCD, which can be both debilitating and isolating. If you suspect your senior loved one is struggling with OCD, you can do a few things to help. First, try to converse with them about their thoughts and feelings. Being patient and understanding is essential, as they may be reluctant to talk about what’s happening.

Once you can have an open dialogue, ask them if they want to explore treatment options. Many effective therapies can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Remember that every person will react differently when faced with OCD. Listen without judgment and tailor your approach accordingly.

A senior may benefit from moving to a senior independent living facility or Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) to assist in management of their OCD.  Regular medical professional visits can help manage their treatment.  To learn more about what Independent Living Facilities such as The Residences at Zon Beachside can provide Click Here.


Awareness of the signs of OCD in seniors is essential, as it is often a hidden battle. If you suspect your loved one is struggling with OCD, don’t hesitate to contact a mental health professional for help. With treatment, seniors can live happy and fulfilling lives despite their OCD. Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects nearly 1% of adults, but many cases go undiagnosed or untreated.