Did you know that depression is actually a very common issue among seniors? There are both causes and symptoms of depression in the elderly that can affect all aspects of your loved one’s life and their senior care. This is why it’s important to be aware of the signs and red flags associated with depression, which can often go unnoticed. This happens for several reasons, like a reluctance to talk about feelings of sadness, or assuming that sadness is just a part of the aging process.
It is extremely helpful to learn about both the causes and symptoms of senior depression, especially if you’re in charge of your loved one’s senior care. Doing so can help you catch the onset of depression or preventing it altogether.
Being aware of the major causes of senior depression, listed below, can help you stop it in its tracks.
- Isolation and Loneliness: A decreasing social circle can be the result of living alone; this is also attributed to an inability to drive or decreased mobility.
- Health Problems: This can be caused by chronic and severe pain; illnesses or disabilities; or cognitive decline.
- Fears: A fear of death or dying; struggling with anxiety from health issues or financial distress.
- Reduced Sense of Purpose: Sometimes retirement can be to blame for a loss of identity or purpose; a lack of engagement in previously enjoyed activities may be due to new physical limitations.
- Medical Conditions: Certain conditions can directly cause depression in seniors. For example: Parkinson’s Disease, thyroid disorders, Cancer and Lupus.
- Recent Bereavements: If your loved one has experienced a recent loss of friends, family members, pets, or a spouse or partner, this can be a major cause of depression.
Even after learning about the above causes, it still a good idea to recognize the symptoms, listed below.
- Poor sleeping habits
- Slower speech and/or movements
- The use of alcohol or other drugs (or increased use)
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Neglecting personal care
- Sadness and despair; feelings of hopelessness; loss of self-worth
- Loss of interest and activities; lack of motivation and energy
- Weight loss and/or loss of appetite
- Aches and pains that are unexplained
As you notice signs of prolonged sadness or depression in your senior loved one, it’s important to make changes to their care to help support their emotional wellbeing. Through the Balanced Care Method, Home Care Assistance aims to support both the emotional and physical health of older adults as they age. If you’re looking for support for an older family member, contact us today!