Depression is not a normal part of aging, but it affects millions of seniors. Depression, if left untreated, can make it more difficult for the elderly to recover from illness or injury and can hurt their quality of life. It can influence everything from appetite to socialization to physical activity. Recognizing depression symptoms in seniors and taking steps to improve mental health can go a long way toward improving overall well-being.
Signs of Depression in the Elderly
While sadness is a common symptom of depression, it isn’t always visible in seniors. Some individuals may experience sadness, while others do not. Instead, they may feel more helpless or hopeless depending on their circumstances. They might also feel like they’re a burden to their family. Here are a few more common warning signs to be aware of:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Loss of energy or motivation
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Lack of interest in doing things they once enjoyed, like hobbies or other activities
- Poor personal hygiene
- Memory problems
- Complaints about aches and pains unrelated to another condition
If you notice these symptoms, you must discuss your concerns with your aging parent and their healthcare provider. Your loved one should be evaluated for depression so that appropriate measures to manage the condition can be taken. It is also important to disclose any medications they take, as depression can be a side effect of some medications.
Natural Treatments for Depression
There are many natural ways you can assist your senior in improving their mood and lowering their risk of depression.
Many older adults live alone and may have difficulty getting to and from activities. They may also have a limited number of visitors. Ensure that your loved one has access to socializing opportunities and transportation to get there. Assist them in organizing lunches with friends, church trips, community events, and visits with family. Encourage family and friends to pay them a visit at their home. Remind them of all the fun they can have with others.
Encourage Physical Activity
Exercise has been shown to improve mood by releasing endorphins. Encourage your loved one to join fitness classes, go for walks, take them to the pool, or try yoga. Staying active is also good for your joints, muscles, balance, and coordination, all essential mobility components.
Try Something New
Trying a new hobby can help seniors avoid depression because it keeps their minds active and challenges them to learn new things. They can feel the satisfaction of doing something they enjoy and see their progress as they improve. This can be extremely rewarding. Furthermore, it can assist them in making new friends with similar interests.
Consider In Home Care
Depression can arise as a result of illness, injury, or disability. An in-home care provider who can assist seniors with non-medical needs such as meal planning and preparation, arranging community trips, completing light housekeeping, getting in and out of bed or ready for the day, and providing general companionship can make a significant difference. Seniors can maintain their independence and age in place more confidently and comfortably while also socializing. This can aid in the improvement of mental health and the reduction of feelings of depression.
Contact Home Care Assistance of Greater Burlington to learn more about the benefits of in-home care and schedule a free consultation. Personalized in-home care services can provide your senior loved one with the required care and support.