Looking for Signs of Depression in Your Senior Loved One

By Tom Lee, 9:41 am on
Senior Care - How to recognize depression

Depression is quite a common issue among seniors. We have discussed the topic of depression in seniors before.

Both the causes and the symptoms can affect every aspect of your loved one’s life, which is why it is so important to be on the lookout for signs and red flags of depression. In many cases, senior depression can go unnoticed or undiagnosed. This can happen for several reasons, including that sadness is just a part of aging and the reluctance to talk about such feelings or ask for help.

If you’re in charge of your loved one’s care, then it will be helpful for you to learn about the causes of senior depression and its symptoms, so you can prevent it, or catch it early on.

The Causes

Many times, being aware of the causes of depression will allow you to catch the early onset or completely prevent it from happening altogether. Below is a list of the most common causes of senior depression.

  • Health Problems: This can include illnesses and disabilities; chronic and severe pain; and cognitive decline. A loss or functional decline of any of the five senses can be an aggravating factor in mood.
  • Loneliness or Isolation: Living alone can result in a decreasing social circle. This can also be attributed to decreased mobility or the inability to drive.
  • Reduced Sense of Purpose: Retirement can lead to a loss of identity or purpose. Physical limitations can also play a role in a lack of engagement in activities that your loved one once enjoyed.
  • Fears: Sometimes seniors have a fear of death or dying. Or, they may be struggling with anxiety from health issues or financial problems.
  • Recent Bereavements: This is due to a recent loss of other loved ones – friends, family members, or pets; or often the death of a spouse or a partner.
  • Medical Conditions: Specific conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, thyroid disorders, Cancer and Lupus can all directly cause depression in seniors.

The Symptoms

Now that you’re aware of the causes, familiarize yourself with this list of symptoms that can occur as a result of the above:

  • 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
  • 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

As you recognize symptoms of senior depression in your loved one, it is important to adjust their care and activity to help them cope with symptoms. The professionals at Home Care Assistance of Greater Burlington are trained to provide care for the emotional wellbeing of older adults and can help you plan next steps.

The Balanced Care Method employs a holistic approach focused on five aspects of care including healthy diet, physical activity, mental stimulation, socialization and a sense of purpose. Combined these focus areas serve to positively influence health and happiness through the aging process.

Contact us to learn more.

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