Life is full of ups and downs. Each one impacts our mental wellbeing – for better or worse. When we are mentally healthy, life’s challenges may get us down for a period of time, but they are balanced out by positive experiences. When the difficulties of life become overwhelming, however, depression can develop – something that’s particularly concerning and common for older adults. So how can you determine if someone you love may be experiencing senior depression – and, what can you do to help?
Know the Risk Factors for Depression
The first step is understanding the risk factors for depression in seniors, which include:
- Serious medical conditions, such as cancer or heart disease
- Isolation and loneliness
- Sleep deficiency
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Alcoholism or other addictions
- Limitations in the ability to function and perform activities of daily living
- And more
Know the Signs of Depression
Senior depression often displays a bit differently than depression in younger adults. Watch for signs such as:
- A disinterest in previously-enjoyed activities
- Self-isolation from family and friends
- Lack of attention to personal hygiene
- A change in the upkeep of the home (i.e., someone who kept the kitchen spotless previously is now letting dishes pile up in the sink)
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Complaints about aches and pains
What to Do if You Suspect Senior Depression
Getting medical attention for senior depression is crucial. It is a treatable condition, and the sooner treatment is started, the better. The doctor may verify clinical depression by utilizing the Geriatric Depression Scale, which includes 30 questions such as:
- Are you basically satisfied with your life?
- Have you dropped many of your activities/interests?
- Do you feel that your life is empty?
- Do you often get bored?
- Are you hopeful about the future?
- Are you bothered by thoughts that you just cannot get out of your head?
- Are you in good spirits most of the time?
- Do you often feel restless and fidgety?
- And more
If senior depression is diagnosed, the doctor may prescribe medications, therapy, or a combination of both. It will then be important to ensure the senior follows through with the doctor’s recommendations.
- Serving as a friendly companion for enhanced socialization
- Engaging together in enjoyable activities and exercise
- Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments
- Picking up prescriptions
- Providing medication reminders
- And much more
Contact Senior HomeCare of Tucson, the leading provider of in-home care in Tucson, AZ and the surrounding areas , at 520-355-4787 for a free in-home consultation and help a senior you love get back to enjoying life to the fullest!