Warning Signs of Depression in Older Adults and How to Help

sad-senior-looking-longingly
Depression is a common condition experienced at any age; seniors who have been in isolation are especially vulnerable and need help.
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Most people go through periods of time in which they simply want to spend some time alone with their thoughts, to work through circumstances in their lives without any distractions, or just to have some downtime. For older adults, however, being isolated for an extended period of time might be indicative of a more serious condition: depression.

At Lend a Hand Home Care, our professional caregivers in Reno and the surrounding areas have shared the journey through depression with many older individuals, and are available to help. The most important first step is to get in touch with the individual’s physician right away if you believe he or she is struggling with depression. Depression can be treated, and the sooner, the better.

Watch for these warning signs of depression in older adults:

  • Loss: A wide range of types of loss can be a sign of 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 less time spent with family and friends.
  • Slowing Down: Observe if the older adult’s movements or speaking have slowed down, if it takes the senior longer than usual to share or recall memories, or if motivation or energy are reduced.
  • Sleeping Changes: Depression can have drastic effects on sleep patterns, including trouble with falling or staying asleep, struggles awakening, or difficulty staying alert and awake during the day.
  • Forgetfulness: Look for differences in how your loved one tends to their own self-care; for example, if a senior has historically been diligent about maintaining good personal hygiene and attentive to their appearance, but abruptly begins to neglect personal care, this could be reason for concern. Consider if there are other noteworthy changes, such as forgetting to take medication, to eat a balanced diet, maintain the home, etc.

A variety of other medical conditions tend to exacerbate symptoms of depression. Be especially mindful if the older person has been affected by any of the following:

  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • Thyroid conditions

If you identify warning signs of depression in older adults, consider it an urgent need; it is important to take action and not to shrug it off as something the senior will get over on their own. Depression is a chronic medical condition that requires treatment in order to recover.

And bear in mind, you are not alone. The professional caregivers at Lend a Hand Home Care are available to help older adults through senior depression or any other condition of aging. We’re experienced in providing caring, compassionate in-home care for seniors, offering a variety of services including friendly companionship to help encourage participation in exercise programs and social activities, the preparation of healthy and nutritious meals, transportation to medical appointments, running errands, and much more.

Contact us at 775-322-8414 to schedule a free in-home consultation or to learn more about options for companion care in Reno and the surrounding areas. Please see our full service area.