As a family caregiver for your elderly parents, you know that the care and assistance you offer should go beyond attending to their physical needs. Physical health and safety are a critical focus of
your senior care plan, but you must also take into consideration their mental and emotional health to ensure true well-being and a high quality of life. One serious risk to mental and emotional health among elderly adults is depression.
There are many causes for depression among senior adults, including:
- The decrease in self-esteem and sense of purpose that often come with retirement
- Increased sense of mortality
- Loss of partners, friends, and family members
- Decreased physical health and function
- Realization of things that they were never able to accomplish in their lives
- Feelings of isolation and lack of social relevance
- Need to leave a long-time home in order to downsize or transition into your home to receive care
- Cognitive decline related to Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia
Regardless of the reason behind the depression, if your aging loved ones are coping with this problem, they could experience a variety of serious consequences, including headaches, fatigue, digestive problems, insomnia, loss of motivation, and more rapid rate of physical decline. By recognizing the signs of potential depression in elderly adults, you can make it a point to monitor your aging parents' mental health and make preventing and managing depression a central element of your senior care plan.
Some of the signs of depression among seniors include:
- Chronic sadness
- Lingering "down" mood
- Increased or consistent anxiety
- Increased tiredness or complaints of need to sleep
- Lack of interest in once favorite activities
- Lack of motivation to participate in daily activities or routine tasks
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Eating much more or much less than usual
- Weight loss or weight gain
- Frequent crying
- Achiness, pains, and stiffness that do not have any physical explanation and do not go away with normal treatment
- Increased difficulty focusing
- Increased memory challenges
- Reluctance or challenges making decisions
- Feelings of worthlessness or helplessness
- Reporting feeling hopeless
- Feelings of guilty
- Talking about death or suicide frequently
If you or your aging parents' senior health care services provider notice any of these behaviors or symptoms in your elderly loved ones, it is important to take steps to manage the depression, improve their mental health, and support a healthier lifestyle.
Some of the ways you can do this include:
- Provide extra social interaction through frequent visits, involvement in clubs and volunteer groups, and regular time with a senior health care services provider
- Outings and adventures that stimulate their minds and encourage cognitive processing and memory strength
- Regular physical activity that supports better health, less pain, and ongoing mobility
- Encouraging participation in activities that support a sense of community involvement and value, such as volunteering, making items to donate to charity, and getting active in the local senior center.
Get in touch with the elder care agency in your area to find out more about depression among seniors and learn about hiring a senior health care services provider who can help you support better mental and emotional health for your aging parents.
Harmony Home Care provides services for the greater Sacramento, Placer, and El Dorado Counties including: Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, Folsom, Granite Bay, Roseville, Cameron Park, Placerville and surrounding areas. For more information and a FREE assessment CALL (916) 933-9777.