Everyone goes through periods of time when they simply want to be left alone for a bit with their thoughts, to work through situations in their lives free from distractions, or just to have some downtime. For seniors, however, being isolated for an extended period of time might be indicative of a more concerning condition: depression.
At Well-Being Home Care, our New Jersey caregivers have shared the journey through depression with many seniors, and want to offer help. The most important first step is to contact the senior’s doctor immediately if you suspect he or she is struggling with depression. Depression can be treated, and the sooner, the better.
Watch for these red flags of senior depression in your loved ones:
- Experiencing Loss: A variety of types of loss can jumpstart depression or other medical concerns: losing weight, losing appetite, a loss of self-worth, disinterest in activities or hobbies that were previously enjoyed, or a reduction in time spent with friends or family.
- Slowing Down: Observe if the senior’s movements or speech have slowed down, if it takes the senior longer than usual to share or recall memories, or if motivation or energy are lessened.
- Sleep Changes: Depression can have drastic effects on sleep patterns, causing trouble with falling or staying asleep, waking up, or remaining alert and awake throughout the day.
- Forgetfulness: Look for changes in how your senior loved one takes care of herself; for instance, if she has always been careful about maintaining good personal hygiene and taking care with her appearance, but suddenly starts to neglect personal care, or any other crucial changes such as forgetting to take medications, to eat a balanced diet, etc.
Certain other medical conditions can also make depression worse. Be particularly mindful if your senior loved one has been impacted by any of the following:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Thyroid conditions
If you suspect senior depression in a loved one, it’s important to take action and not to shrug it off as something the senior will get over on her own. Depression is a chronic medical condition that requires treatment in order to recover.
And remember, you’re not alone! The New Jersey caregivers of Well-Being Home Care are available to help older adults, and their family members, through senior depression or any other condition of aging. We’re skilled in providing caring, compassionate in-home services for seniors, offering friendly companionship to help encourage participation in exercise programs and social activities, to prepare healthy and nutritious meals, provide transportation to medical appointments and to run errands, and much more.
Contact us any time at 800-413-0013 for assistance.