Lots of people go through times when they simply want to be isolated for a bit with their thoughts, to sort out circumstances in their lives without any distractions, or just to experience some downtime. For older people, however, being isolated for an extended period of time may be indicative of a more concerning condition: the symptoms of depression.
At Carolina Hearts Home Care, our caregivers have shared the journey through depression with many older individuals, and want to offer help. The most important first step is to get in touch with the older person’s physician immediately if you believe he or she is struggling with depression. Depression can be treated, and the sooner, the better.
Watch for these symptoms of senior depression in your loved ones:
- Loss: A wide range of forms of loss can trigger depression or other medical concerns: losing weight, losing appetite, a loss of self-esteem, a loss of interest in activities or pastimes that were previously enjoyed, or a reduction in time spent with friends or family.
- Slowing Down: Observe if the senior’s movements or speaking have slowed down, if it takes the person longer than before to talk about or recall memories, or if drive or energy are lessened.
- Sleep Changes: Depression can have significant effects on sleep patterns, causing trouble with falling or staying asleep, waking up, or staying alert and awake throughout the day.
- Forgetfulness: Look for changes in how the senior takes care of herself; for instance, if she has always been careful about maintaining good personal hygiene and taking care with her appearance, but abruptly begins to disregard personal care, or any other crucial changes such as forgetting to take prescriptions, to eat a healthy diet, etc.
Various other medical conditions can also make the symptoms of depression worse. Be particularly mindful if the older adult has been affected by any of the following:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Thyroid conditions
If you suspect senior depression in someone you love, it’s vitally important to take action and not to disregard it as just something the senior will get over by herself. Depression is a chronic medical condition that calls for treatment in order to recover.
And keep in mind, you’re not alone! The caregivers at Carolina Hearts Home Care are available to help older adults through senior depression or any other condition requiring assistance. We’re experienced in providing caring, compassionate home care assistance for seniors, offering friendly companionship to help encourage participation in exercise programs and social activities, preparing delicious, healthy meals, providing transportation to doctors’ appointments and to run errands, and much more.