Signs and Solutions for Managing Depression in Elderly Family Members
Depression and aging don’t have to go hand in hand. There are many people who are truly enjoying their golden years. In fact, the CDC states that depression is not a normal part of aging. It is a condition that can be treated. Elderly Depression
There are situations that can cause depression such as the loss of a spouse, poor health or losing close friends or family. It can be difficult to cope with these situations.
In addition to dealing with major life changes, older adults begin to fear the aging process – will they become unable to remain independent? Will they have medical ailments that make aging difficult? Will they be left alone?
If you are concerned that a loved one is depressed, there are signs to look for. Some signs of depression include:
- Weakness and physical complaints
- Loss of interest in appearance
- Loss of interest in activities and food
- Weight loss
- Low energy
- Feelings of guilt, helplessness or worthlessness
How to Combat Depression in the Elderly
The first thing you need to do is accept that your family member needs help. Once you’ve accepted it, reach out to their general practitioner. He or she can refer you to a mental health specialist who can help you and your parent come up with a plan.
Different therapies work for different people. For instance, support groups can provide new coping skills or social support if your parent is dealing with a major loss or illness. Several kinds of talk therapies are useful as well. Don’t give up if the first option doesn’t work for your parent. Dealing with depression can take time.
In addition to therapy, your parent may be prescribed an antidepressant, medication to help them sleep better or even some lifestyle changes that can help with their depression.
Depression is a serious condition that should be addressed. Once you’ve gotten your parent on the right treatment track, you can work together to figure out what the triggers were and how to manage them in the future.
There are steps your parent can take with your help. They can reach out to family and friends and let them know when they need support. They can try new hobbies or activities that help keep their mind and body active. It can also help combat loneliness.
Regular exercise can help prevent depression or lift their mood. If your parent doesn’t enjoy traditional forms of exercise, they can try activities such as gardening, dancing, and swimming. It doesn’t matter what they choose, as long as they enjoy it. Being physically fit and eating a healthy diet can help them avoid illnesses that can bring on disability or depression.
You might need help your parent jump start their social life if they have lost friends. It can be hard making friends as we age, but it is important to maintain social connections. They can join a group or volunteer for a cause that is important to them. Choosing to be part of their community can help ward off depression as well.
Don’t ignore the signs of depression. The farther your loved one sinks into depression, the more difficult it can be to move past it. Suffering from depression for long periods of time can also lead to other health problems, particularly if it is affecting their diet or sleep.
Your loved one may struggle to admit that there is a problem so it is up to you, their caregiver, to step in and help them get the help they need.
About the Author
Kathy Macaraeg has worked closely with seniors and their families for the past seven years and counts many 80+ year old women as he closest friends. She created http://www.caregivingmadeeasy.com as a way to share the knowledge she gained from her clients and their families with those struggling with caregiving challenges. Kathy lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.View All Articles