According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 7 million Americans over the age of 65 experience depression every year. Although it’s a common and serious mood disorder, it is not a natural part of aging. Depression, ultimately, affects one’s ability to perform the everyday activities of living.
“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”—C.S. Lewis.
Change affects everyone. For those in their senior years, however, change can feel relentless. From chronic diseases to changes in their household environment and the people they love, change can feel like a never-ending shadow in one’s midst. The sun begins to dim, the smile fades and a progressive melancholy takes over.
In many people, the symptoms of depression can be easily detected. They will exhibit extreme sadness and talk about problems and difficulties as if there were no solutions. Hope has disappeared. You notice increasing apathy and the reluctance to go out and socialize. In the elderly, the signs of depression may not be so noticeable.
Surprisingly, sadness is not always reported in a senior experiencing depression. For those in their elder years, complaints of a stomach ache, headache, or other types of pain may be their primary symptom. They may complain of difficulty sleeping and appear increasingly irritable. Other symptoms associated with depression in the elderly include difficulty concentrating, increasing fatigue and slowing down when moving and talking.
Depression may occur in conjunction with other diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or stroke. Any chronic disease that is painful, disabling, or life-threatening can lead to depression. The medications your aging family member takes for their various diseases may also be a contributing factor.
If you suspect depression has entered your parent’s life, call their physician or psychiatrist right away. According to WebMD, only 10 percent of the elderly population that is depressed receives treatment, and yet depression can have serious consequences, including an increased risk of heart disease.
How to Help
Due to the possibility of drug interactions and the susceptibility of the elderly to the side effects of drugs, many physicians will begin psychotherapy and lifestyle changes before intervening with medications. You can help by being there to support them through their many changes and help them make the necessary lifestyle adjustments. This may include getting them into a regular routine that includes 30 minutes of a daily exercise that they enjoy and a healthy diet loaded with fruits and vegetables and limited in processed foods, alcohol and nicotine. Come up with activities that they’ll consider joining in such as lunch at their favorite café, a stroll through the neighboring green space, or a local class in Tai Chi.
Home Care Services Provider
It’s important for someone under the spell of depression to have someone by their side and remain socially engaged. Consider obtaining the services of a home care services provider. They can assist with daily tasks, prepare healthy meals, run errands, and join your aging family member on social outings and on neighborhood walks.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Wilmette IL, contact the caring staff at Gentle Home Services. Call today (800) 860-9823.