Most people go through times when they simply want to be left alone for a while with their thoughts, to sort out circumstances in their lives without distractions, or just to have some downtime. For older people, however, being isolated for an extended period of time may be indicative of a more serious condition: depression. If your loved one is facing senior depression, how will you know?
At CareFor, our caregivers have shared the journey through depression with many seniors and want to offer help. The most important first step is to get in touch with the older person’s doctor as soon as possible if you believe he or she may be struggling with depression. Depression can be treated, and the sooner, the better.
Be on the lookout for these warning signs of senior depression in your loved ones:
- Loss: A variety of kinds of loss can jumpstart depression or other medical problems: losing weight, losing appetite, a loss of self-worth, disinterest in activities or pastimes that were formerly enjoyed, or less frequent visits with friends or family.
- Slowing Down: Notice if the senior’s movements or speech have slowed down, if it takes the senior longer than before to share or recall memories, or if motivation or energy are reduced.
- Sleep Changes: Depression can have major effects on sleep patterns, causing trouble with falling or remaining asleep, waking up, or remaining alert and awake for the duration of the day.
- Forgetfulness: Look for changes in how the senior takes care of herself; for example, if she has always been careful about maintaining good personal hygiene and taking care with her appearance, but abruptly starts to disregard personal care, or any other crucial changes like forgetting to take medicine, to eat a well-balanced diet, etc.
Certain other medical conditions tend to also make depression worse. Be particularly mindful if the older adult has been impacted by any of the following:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Thyroid conditions
If you suspect senior depression in a loved one, it’s important to take action and not to shrug it off as just something the senior will get over by herself. Depression is a chronic medical condition that necessitates treatment in order to recover.
And bear in mind, you are never alone! The caregivers of CareFor are available to help older adults and their family members through senior depression or any other condition of aging. We’re skilled in providing caring, compassionate in-home services for older adults, offering friendly companionship to help encourage participation in exercise programs and social activities, to prepare delicious, healthy meals, to provide transportation to medical appointments and to run errands, and more. Our team of professionals provides compassionate care management services and in home care.