Everybody goes through times when they simply want to be left alone for a bit with their thoughts to work through concerns without any distractions, or just to have some downtime. For older people, however, being isolated for an extended period of time might be indicative of a more serious condition: depression.
At Effraim Home Care, our Abington area caregivers have shared the journey through depression with many older individuals, and want to offer help. The most important first step is to reach out to the older person’s doctor right away if you think he or she may be struggling with depression. Depression is treatable, and the sooner treated, the better.
Watch for these signs of senior depression:
- Loss: A wide range of loss can trigger depression or other medical problems: losing weight, losing appetite, a loss of self-worth, a loss of interest in activities or pastimes that were formerly enjoyed, or a reduction in time spent with friends or family.
- Slowing Down: Notice if the senior’s movements or speaking have slowed down, if it takes the person longer than usual to talk about or recall memories, or if motivation or energy are reduced.
- Sleep Changes: Depression can have extreme effects on sleep patterns, such as trouble with falling or remaining asleep, frequent awakening during the night, or trouble staying alert and awake during the day.
- Forgetfulness: Look for differences in how the senior takes care of herself; for instance, if she was always careful about maintaining good personal hygiene and taking care with her appearance, but abruptly starts to neglect personal care, or any other crucial changes like forgetting to take medications, to eat a balanced diet, etc.
Various other medical conditions can also make depression worse. Be particularly mindful if the senior has been affected by any of the following:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Thyroid conditions
If you suspect senior depression in a loved one, it’s vitally important to take action and not to shrug it off as something the person will get over by herself. Depression is a chronic medical condition that necessitates treatment in order to recover.
And remember, you are not alone! The Abington area caregivers of Effraim Home Care are here to help aging adults through senior depression or any other condition of aging. We’re skilled in providing caring, compassionate in-home care for older adults, offering friendly companionship to help motivate participation in exercise programs and social activities, preparing appetizing, healthy meals, providing transportation to medical appointments and to run errands, and more.