Depression isn’t a natural aspect of ageing, it’s a severe medical problem. Owing to a lack of mobility and loneliness, seniors have an elevated risk of depression. If you’re concerned about a loved one, decide to go out with him or her to a health care provider for diagnosis and treatment.
Depression isn’t just about “the blues” or the emotions we feel as we grieve the loss of a loved one. This is a real treatable medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
Seniors Attitudes on Depression
Seniors attitudes and beliefs about clinical depression:
- Approximately 68% of adults aged 65 and over know little or almost nothing about depression.
- Only 38% of adults aged 65 and over believe that depression is a “health” problem.
- If suffering from depression, older adults are more likely than any other group to “handle it themselves.” Only 42% would seek help from a health professional.
- About 58% of people aged 65 and older believe that it is “normal” for people to get depressed as they grow older.
Older adults are often misdiagnosed when it comes to depression. Health care providers may mistake the symptoms of depression in seniors as a natural response to disease or changes in life that may happen as we age, and therefore do not see depression as something to be handled. Seniors often do not seek assistance because they do not know that with suitable therapy they might feel better.
Watch out for these signs of senior depression
Symptoms of depression can be:
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
- Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment
How many seniors are being affected by depression?
The excellent news is that there is no depression in the majority of older adults. Some estimates of major depression in seniors range from less than 1 percent to about 5 percent, but increase to 13.5 percent in those who need home care and to 11.5 percent in elderly patients in hospitals.
How can you help your senior loved one?
It’s not unusual for some aging adults to feel opposition when it comes to receiving help for depression, but it’s essential that you present the idea softly. You can then discover a reputable therapist or psychiatrist’s name and number and assist them make an appointment.
3 Ways to Help Your Depressed Senior Loved One
1. Create a Judgement Free Zone
It’s natural that you’re concerned about the mental health of your aging loved one, but it’s important that you do your best to stay cool, calm, and collected when you interact with them. Encourage them to open up through a sympathetic discussion about what could be bothering them. Make it clear that you are there to listen to whatever they want to share without judgement.
2. Make Time for Family
Loneliness among older adults is a significant factor in depression. It can be really valuable to give your loved one as much time and attention as possible. Creating a support system of family members and friends whose company they appreciate.
3. Share Time in the Kitchen Together
Loss of appetite is a common symptom of depression in aging adults, which can result in dramatic weight loss, muscle wasting, fatigue, and deteriorating health. This is why it is incredibly important that you help make sure they are getting proper nourishment. Together, prepare simple meals and snacks packed with nutrition and calories that they can consume even when they don’t feel like eating much.
The Victorian Assisted Living and Retirement Community
The Victorian is an assisted living and retirement community that makes living independently, while at the same time feeling safe and secure, a reality. We strive to provide the best quality of life for all residents including those suffering from loneliness and depression.
We offer a comprehensive activity program that includes both physical and social activities to encourage emotional well-being. Our staff is trained to assist those with depression. If you or a loved one are considering assisted living, contact The Victorian today to learn more about our services or tour our community.