Treating and detecting depression in elderly adults

Hello everyone, welcome back to our blog! We use this space to talk about home health care tips as well as what a career in home health care entails. Wilson Care employs a team of dedicated home health care professionals who are passionate about the wellbeing and health of your loved ones. Our company understands that between jobs and raising kids, an adequate amount of time to care for our older relatives isn’t something that everyone is lucky enough to have. Wilson care employees puts forth the care and compassion that your loved older relatives need as they age.

Something that’s been prevalent among the elderly population is depression. While this mental illness is debilitating to people of all ages, it’s even more detrimental to the older population for a few reasons that we’ll go over. While the older population experiences depression symptoms similarly to the rest of the population, the implications, prognosis, and causes vary quite a bit. If you’re a home health care provider who is looking for more tips on how to care for older individuals, or you have an older relative who might be exhibiting depressive symptoms, we put together this comprehensive guide to help detect, understand, and treat depression in the elderly.

Causes

The causes of depression vary for everyone, and it’s never a “one cause fits all” situation. In the older population, however, one of the more widespread and problematic causes is boredom and loneliness. Elderly adults might not have the ability to do the things that they used to love doing, as their hearing, vision, and motor movements might have deteriorated. Driving becomes difficult, physical activity isn’t always a possibility, and being stuck at home with nothing to do, and nobody to talk to, can cause an elderly adult’s risk of depression to skyrocket.

Know the Signs

When people age, it’s only natural that they’re not as energetic as they were back in their younger years. However, there’s a big difference between feeling less energetic and experiencing a total lack of energy and motivation- one of the most tell tale signs of depression. If he or she no longer wants to do things that used to delight them, is constantly laying in bed or on the couch, feels an unusual amount of aches and pain, has trouble sleeping at night, or isn’t eating as much as they should, then there is a possibility that they’re depressed.

These signs might seem obvious, but they’re all symptoms that could simply be associated with aging. Therefore, it’s best to keep an extra close eye on these symptoms, and see how they relate to one another. If they cease to go away, or get worse, then communicate with them about their feelings. Depression, however, often shares symptoms with dementia, so catching the signs and treating them as soon as you can in very important.

With older generations, however, the conversation on mental illness might not be as comprehensive. While the stigma surrounding mental illness and, more specifically, depression has been reduced in recent years, it’s still a concept that might not be as accepted by the elderly, as they were raised in a time where mental illness treatment wasn’t treated as a priority. Using words like “mental illness” and “depression” might make them feel uneasy and they might not feel as apt to seek treatment. It’s best to approach the subject with caution.

How to Treat Symptoms

Again, the elderly might be much less likely to accept any sort of treatment for depression than the rest of the population. Therefore, one of the best lines of defense against depression is engagement. Because loneliness and boredom are some of the most widespread causes, the obvious treatment tactic is to do things that can combat boredom and help treat depression. Whenever you have free time, schedule outings and visits, which both go a long way. If you have a long week at work and minimal free time, even a short phone call can make a huge difference.

If you’re truly worried about the mental, and physical health, of your loved one, call Wilson Care. Our team of experienced, caring, and compassionate employees are more than willing to give your loved one the time and care than you might not be able to provide at the moment. Depression in older adults is detrimental on its own, but it can also be precursor for other diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. Nobody deserves to experience depression, especially older adults who don’t have the prevention mechanisms that the rest of us have.

We hope that this post was helpful and that you have a better understanding of depression in the elderly. Please call Wilson Care for quality home health care for your loved ones today!