The complexity of symptoms seen in the elderly patient derives from the nature of age-related psychological and physiological changes and the variety of medical illnesses and psychiatric disorders common in advanced age. Without using differential diagnosis, the changes in mental status are too often ascribed to manifestation of senile decay, resulting in overdiagnosis of senile dementia. There is an interrelationship between somatic and psychiatric disorders and unusual appearances of many clinical entities common in the elderly. A review of pertinent literature and related clinical examples illustrate the common symptom complexes, including psychosomatic and somatopsychic disorders, seen in aged patients.
(Arch Intern Med 1981;141:734-737)