Most people go through periods of time when they simply want to be isolated for a while with their thoughts, to think through concerns in their lives without any distractions, or simply to experience some downtime. For seniors, however, being isolated for an extended period of time may be indicative of a more concerning condition: depression.
At Harmony Home Health & Hospice, our caregivers in Orem and the surrounding areas have shared the journey through depression with many older individuals, and want to offer help. The most important first step is to contact the senior’s physician right away if you think he or she may be struggling with depression. Depression can be treated, and the sooner treatment is begun, the better.
Be on the lookout for these signs of senior depression in loved ones:
- Loss: A variety of kinds of loss can trigger depression or other medical concerns: losing weight, losing appetite, a loss of self-worth, a loss of interest in activities or pastimes that were formerly enjoyed, or a decrease in time spent with friends or family.
- Slowing Down: Notice if the senior’s movements or speaking have slowed down, if it takes the person longer than before to share or recall memories, or if motivation or energy is lessened.
- Sleeping Changes: Depression can have dramatic effects on sleep patterns, such as trouble with falling or staying asleep, difficulty waking up, or issues with staying alert and awake during the day.
- Forgetfulness: Watch for changes in how the older person takes care of herself; for instance, if she was always careful about maintaining good personal hygiene and taking care with her appearance, but suddenly begins to ignore personal care, or any other crucial changes like forgetting to take medications, to eat a healthy diet, etc.
Various other medical conditions tend to also make depression worse. Be particularly mindful if the older adult has been affected by any of the following:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
- Thyroid conditions
If you suspect senior depression in someone you love, it’s crucial to take action and not to shrug it off as just something the person will get over by herself. Depression is a chronic medical condition that calls for treatment in order to recover.
And keep in mind, you are not alone! Harmony Home Health & Hospice, with experts in home and hospice in Orem and nearby communities, are here to help seniors, and their family members, through depression or any other condition of aging. We offer skilled care that can help seniors maintain better health and feel more like themselves.