4 Key Warning Signs of Senior Depression
Lots of people go through periods of time when they simply want to be left alone for a bit with their thoughts, to think through situations in their lives without any distractions, or just to experience some downtime. For older adults, however, being isolated for an extended period of time may be indicative of a more serious condition: senior depression.
At Hired Hands Homecare, our caregivers have shared the journey through depression with many seniors, and would like to offer help. The most important first step is to contact the older adult’s doctor as soon as possible if you suspect he or she is struggling with depression. Depression is treatable, and the sooner, the better.
- Loss: A wide range of kinds of loss can jumpstart depression or other medical concerns: losing weight, losing the desire to eat, a loss of self-worth, disinterest in activities or pastimes that were previously enjoyed, or less time spent with family or friends.
- Slowing Down: Notice if the older adult’s movements or speaking have slowed down, if it takes the senior longer than before to talk about or recall memories, or if motivation or energy is lessened.
- Sleeping Changes: Depression can have dramatic effects on sleep patterns, including trouble with falling or remaining asleep, trouble waking up, or trouble being alert and awake during the day.
- Forgetfulness: Watch for changes 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 abruptly begins to disregard personal care, or any other critical changes such as forgetting to take medicine, to eat a balanced diet, etc.
Various other medical conditions may also make depression worse. Be particularly mindful if the older adult has been affected by any of the following:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Thyroid conditions
If you suspect senior depression in a loved one, it’s important to take action and not to disregard it as something the senior will get over on her own. Depression is a chronic medical condition that requires treatment in order to recover.
And bear in mind, you are not alone! Our at-home caregivers in Marin and the surrounding areas are here to help aging adults, and their family members, through senior depression or any other condition of aging. We’re skilled in providing personalized in-home services for seniors, offering friendly companionship to help motivate participation in exercise programs and social activities, to prepare appetizing, nutritious meals, provide transportation to medical appointments and to run errands, and more.