According to Web MD, more than 6 million seniors are affected by depression, but only 10 percent receive treatment for it.
Elderly depression presents differently than depression in younger people because it often pairs with other illnesses and a degraded physical quality of life.
Seniors with depression are at risk for an increased risk of cardiac diseases and it can reduce their quality of life. Many triggers can cause depression, including the death of friends or a spouse, physical illness, mental inactivity, change in routine or feelings of loneliness. Caregivers are often unsure of how to recognize depression and once diagnosed, how to treat it.
Feelings of depression often manifest with insomnia, according to Web MD.
Insomnia can be a symptom of depression or it can be a side effect of medication that makes depression worse. If insomnia is a sudden change, then consult a doctor to see if changes in medication could be causing depression and insomnia.
Additionally, one-third of seniors report feeling lonely, according to Time Magazine.
This chronic loneliness can be the result of increased inactivity and social isolation compared to the active lives that many seniors used to live.
So how can you manage depression in seniors?
-One thing to remember is that seniors may handle medication very differently than younger adults, so consult with a doctor who is a bit more experienced in senior care to make sure to get the appropriate dosage for any medication. Additionally, be sure to consult about any changes made in medication or if there are alternative medications to try that may reduce feelings of sadness and depression.
-Keep in mind that some antidepressants may have side effects that could be harmful to seniors, such as sudden drops in blood pressure. Since seniors are more prone to falls, a drop in blood pressure could be dangerous.
-Part of being a caregiver also entails spending quality time with your senior loved one. A home care provider can offer respite time for you for the day-to-day activities so that spending time with your aging parent isn’t just about providing care.
-Therapy may also be beneficial for seniors, especially those going through major changes in life such as moving to a care facility or losing a spouse or close friend. Seek out a therapist who specializes in senior care and understands the unique challenges faced by the elderly. Sometimes simply having an objective person to talk to can help seniors feel less lonely.
If you notice a sudden change in behavior, use your time together to discuss what is bothering your senior and how they would like to seek help. It may take several conversations for them to open up, but mental health is important at every age, so invest in the time with your senior to develop a baseline. Knowing they are loved and their family cares for them can often be what they need to open up and seek help.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Care in Opelika, AL, please contact the caring staff at Prime Home Health today. Caring for Our Friends and Neighbors in Tallapoosa, Chambers, Lee, Macon and Russell Counties! Call us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! 334.745.7966