Thursday, April 9, 2015

Recognizing Signs of Depression in the Elderly and How you can Help

Aging brings about many changes. Once many people retire they find that their schedule and routine are different. They have more free time than they used to and may not be sure what to do with themselves. Without a job to go to each day, they may feel as though they’ve lost a sense of purpose. They may be facing more health issues that make daily tasks more challenging. Depression should not be seen as a common part of getting older because there are many ways to help keep your senior in brighter spirits.

Signs of Depression:

  • Sadness: This is one of the most common signs that people tend to be aware of. In some seniors being sad may not involve crying but be more a feeling of emptiness and loneliness. They may have lost friends and loved ones over the years and feel like something is missing. Sometimes seniors are actually more stoic and deny that there is anything wrong.
  • Lack of interest: They may have stopped participating in activities they once enjoyed or be more reluctant to go out and be social. You may find that they’re spending more time alone and are disengaged.
  • Excessive sleeping: Depression may make them more tired and lethargic. Instead of going out with friends or doing things, they just want to sleep. The motivation and energy are not there.
  • Changes in eating habits: You may notice that your elderly parent is eating more than once did, or eating hardly at all. Depression can cause changes in appetite which can have more serious effects over time. It is important that your senior is getting the proper vitamins and nutrients but also that they are watching their weight. Too far in either direction can be troublesome.
  • Pain: Some senior have increased aches and pains with depression. They may complain of a headache or stomachache that doesn’t seem to stem from other causes.

These signs do not always indicate depression and may be the side effect of other medications or health conditions. Track your observations and talk to their doctor about what you have been noticing. They can help you to determine if it is depression or may be the result of something else.
If your loved one does have depression, try to spend quality time with them and do enjoyable activities together. Keep a positive attitude and be understanding. Listen to what may be troubling them and work together to find solutions. You can find many great community programs for seniors to keep them active, involved, and meeting new people.

An in-home caregiver can provide companionship and spend time doing activities that your elderly parent enjoys. The caregiver can assist them on outings and when visiting neighbors or friends. Your senior can rest easier knowing that someone is there to help them around the home and to do what they want to do. A little extra support can boost their confidence and motivation. If this sounds like a service that would enhance your senior’s wellbeing and help them to live a fuller life, contact Always Best Care of Asheville-Hendersonville today to schedule your free consultation and find out more about what we have to offer. Call (828) 989-7263 or visit us online today.

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