It’s normal for seniors to have periods of sadness or feeling blue. However, when depression is lasting, it evolves into a mental disorder that reduces their quality of life and increases their risk of health problems. Family caregivers, friends, and elderly care providers must be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of depression in seniors because aging people in this state rarely seek out help on their own.
Warning Signs of Geriatric Depression
The symptoms of depression in elderly adults will often develop gradually so it can be difficult to identify them right away. If the elderly person has several people that care for them, such as friends, family members and elder care providers, the symptoms may be overlooked simply because the senior is good at disguising them from everyone. This leads to underdiagnoses and delayed treatment.
Seniors with depression usually experience a variety of these symptoms:
- Withdrawing from pleasurable activities
- Intentional isolation from family and friends
- Restlessness, boredom, and irritability
- A decline in personal hygiene and self-care
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Indifference to responsibilities
- Sluggish and unmotivated
- Unexplained aches, pains, and headaches
- Digestive problems like nausea and heartburn
- Low self-esteem and negative personal comments
- Constant guilt over something
- Sad and hopeless feelings
- Mood swings
- A decline in memory and recall
- Suicidal thoughts
With elderly adults, the signs and symptoms of depression can be hard to spot, so family caregivers, elderly care providers, and others need to compare notes if they observe any evidence of depression developing. Sometimes it takes several people coming together to see the entire picture. Then they can get the aging adult the help they need to battle depression
Treatment for Elderly Adults with Depression
There are several factors that contribute to successfully managing chronic depression in seniors. Identifying the right combination of treatment components can take time until the right one for the individual is discovered. One of the first steps is that a doctor will prescribe anti-depression medication, based on the elderly person’s health history and current medical condition.
The next step is for them to get counseling with a trained and experienced therapist. The combination of medication and therapy seems to be the most effective when it comes to treating depression and anxiety in aging adults.
Family caregivers and elderly care providers can also help elderly adults struggling with depression by helping them make some significant lifestyle changes. There are numerous things that seniors can do to help their bodies keep depression at bay. Top activities include exercise, restful sleep, healthy diet, art therapy, animal therapy, regular visits with friends and family, and developing new hobbies.
When family caregivers realize that their aging loved one may be depressed, they need to get help and support lined up as soon as possible. The mental health condition can have a significant negative impact on the person’s life. When the elderly adult is surrounded by friends, family, doctors, therapists and elderly care providers working together on their behalf, they can once again live a fuller and happier life.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Homecare in Northbrook, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare In-Home Care & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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