Family Caregiver Tips in Jenkintown, PA – Could Your Senior Loved One Be Suffering from Depression?
Later in life changes occur in seniors – the death of loved ones, retirement, isolation increases, health issues – all of which causing symptoms of depression. Symptoms of depression prevents seniors from being able to enjoy the kind of life they used to lead. This issue goes beyond that of just a change in their mood, though. There is an impact placed upon their physical health, sleep, energy, and appetite. The good news is depression is not something inevitable all aging seniors experience, and there are a number of steps they can take for overcoming the symptoms no matter how challenging they are.
What Are the Symptoms of Depression Seniors?
Red flags of depression could be noticed first by the senior’s family caregiver as the following:
- disturbances with sleep
- fixation on death
- increased use alcohol or drugs
- isolation or withdrawal from socialization
- losing interest in or abandoning or hobbies
- loss of self-worth
- loss of appetite or weight
Depression is Common in Many Aging Seniors
Caregivers can help the aging seniors in their care by asking the following questions:
- Are you no longer interested in the activities you used to find enjoyment in?
- Do you experience struggles with feelings of hopelessness or helplessness?
- Have you been finding it more and more difficult to get through each day?
If a family caregiver receives a “yes” answer to any of these questions, they can assure their loved ones that they are not alone and that depression is common amongst seniors. They can let them know that they recognize how difficult for the symptoms of depression to touch upon every aspect of their life, including appetite, energy, hobbies, interests, and relationships.
Helping Seniors With Depression
It isn’t uncommon for those experiencing depression to want to isolate themselves and want to be left alone. However, this is not the solution and things will worsen. Family caregivers can help by encouraging mental, physical and social activity so seniors will feel better.
Exercise: there are a number of mood-boosting effects that are positive and powerful with regards to physical activity combating depression symptoms. A gym membership isn’t probably necessary, but certainly light exercise on a regular basis is important for many aspects of a senior’s health, including mental health. Caregivers can look for ways to get the seniors in their care more active by encouraging more walking and more movement.
Social Connection: connect socially face-to-face as often as schedules permit. Physical and emotional support from other family members and friends can put the focus on happiness while reassuring your elderly loved one that they are loved and supported. For those who are unable to get out, invite others in for a social activity.
Balance Sleep: family caregivers should work diligently with their elderly loved ones to develop a balanced sleep routine to help combat depression symptoms.
Hobbies and Skills: in addition to keeping up with hobbies and interests, it’s helpful if those receiving elderly care learn a new skill or take up a new hobby. Having something to look forward to and be invested emotionally in can help ward off feelings of sadness.
The unfortunate side of this coin is, despite the family caregiver offering this type of reassurance, there are still far too many seniors failing to fully recognize their depression symptoms and they are not taking the steps toward getting the help needed.
If you or your loved one could benefit from the help of home care in Jenkintown, PA and the surrounding areas, contact the caregivers at Right at Home East Montgomery and South Bucks Counties, PA. Call (215) 995-2674 for more information.
Chris has been married for 26 years to his lovely wife and business partner Maria Campbell, RN. They have 2 boys ages 20 and 25.
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