Lots of people go through times when they just want to be left alone for a while with their thoughts, to work through concerns in their lives free from distractions, or simply to enjoy some downtime. For older individuals, however, being isolated for too long may be indicative of a more serious condition: senior depression.
At Endeavor In-Home Care, the leading provider of Chandler respite care and care in nearby areas, our caregivers have shared the journey through depression with many older adults, and would like to offer help. The most important first step is to contact the older person’s doctor as soon as possible if you believe he or she may be struggling with depression. Depression is treatable, and the sooner treated, the better.
Watch for these signs of senior depression in your loved ones:
- Loss: A variety of forms of loss can trigger depression or other medical problems: losing weight, losing appetite, a loss of self-esteem, a loss of interest in activities or pastimes that were formerly enjoyed, or a decrease in time spent with family or friends.
- Slowing Down: Observe if the senior’s movements or speech have slowed down, if it takes the senior longer than usual to share or recall memories, or if motivation or energy are lessened.
- Sleep Changes: Depression can have significant effects on sleep patterns, including trouble with falling or remaining asleep, trouble awakening, or difficulty staying alert and awake during the day.
- Forgetfulness: Watch for differences in how the older person takes care of herself; for example, if she has always been careful about maintaining good personal hygiene and taking care with her appearance, but suddenly begins to disregard personal care, or any other vital changes like forgetting to take medications, to eat a balanced diet, etc.
Various other medical conditions tend to also make depression worse. Be especially mindful if the older person has been impacted by any of the following:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Thyroid conditions
If you suspect senior depression in a loved one, it’s crucial to take action and not to disregard it as just something the person will get over in time. Depression is a chronic medical condition that calls for treatment in order to recover.
And bear in mind, you are never alone! The caregivers at Endeavor In-Home Care are available to help aging adults through senior depression or any other condition of aging. We’re experienced in providing caring, compassionate in-home services for older adults, with friendly companionship to help motivate participation in exercise programs and social activities, to prepare appetizing, nutritious meals, provide transportation to doctors’ appointments and to run errands, and more.