While major depression in seniors exists at a rate between 1 and 5%, the percentages skyrocket when these older adults’ health takes an adverse turn.
These numbers support the idea that depression isn’t acceptable or normal for older adults. While certain circumstances might be more conducive to severe depression, it’s not a natural part of aging.
Also, depression exists in more than severe forms.
Older adults who suffer from depression–from mild to severe forms–need all the support they can get. A vital component of an effective support system for seniors with depression is having people in their lives who can detect–and help offset–the symptoms.
Below, we’ll detail signs that the older adult in your life is dealing with depression:
Sign #1: Concentration Loss And Other Cognitive Issues
This particular depression sign can be complicated–because cognitive changes and a lack of concentration are also associated with dementia. The problem here is that depression care and dementia care–while sharing commonalities–are very different things.
Provided the senior in your life has begun struggling with speech, memory, or performing basic tasks, it could be a sign of depression. Knowing this information is critical since you don’t want to mistake these for signs of dementia.
Sign #2: Suffering From Alzheimer’s And Dementia
Making the previous section more complex is that seniors with dementia suffer far higher rates of depression than other older adults. To that point, 40% of people with Alzheimer’s deal with severe depression.
In other words, while depression symptoms aren’t necessarily signs of dementia, they also exist in seniors with dementia at a higher frequency. Since a condition like Alzheimer’s in a senior leaves them at a higher depression risk, it’s essential to always keep your eyes open for signs of the mental illness. Unlike in the previous section, there becomes a direct connection between dementia care and depression care when the two conditions combine.
Sign #3: A Loss Of Interest In Activities
The senior in your life likely has a whole host of activities they enjoy. It could be trivia, playing cards, going for walks, or getting coffee with their best pals. Provided you notice your elderly loved one no longer being interested in these activities, it’s a clear warning sign of depression.
Sign #4: Lessened Ability To Take Care Of One’s Self
Has the senior in your life stopped showering or washing their clothes? Are they not eating? Have they been neglecting to take their medication?
Like cognitive impairment, an inability to care for oneself is a sign of dementia and depression and must be handled with care.
Sign #5: Physical Symptoms
Multiple physical symptoms indicate the older adult in your life is suffering from depression, such as:
- Physical pain without any logical explanation
- Significant appetite or weight changes
- Irritated gastrointestinal systems
- A lack of energy
- Several diffuse symptoms
How To Help
The first way you can help detect and manage depression in your seniors is by remaining vigilant and knowledgeable of symptoms. Reading this blog is an excellent first step. A common theme among the above signs and symptoms is they could suggest other problems–but combined are likelier to indicate depression.
Don’t try to handle the problem on your own. Yes, your senior deserves your support, but you can’t give all the necessary help by burning yourself out. Involve the rest of your senior’s family and friends in helping combat the symptoms of their depression.
Depression can do a number on your senior’s psyche, and they’ll need your kindness and compassion more than ever.
The Benefits Of Senior Living
There’s no denying how difficult it can be when the older adult in your life suffers from depression. Those challenges only get further exacerbated when this ongoing mental illness combines with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Instead of placing your senior’s mental health entirely on your own shoulders, consider hiring the home caregivers at Bluebird Homecare.
This way, you’ll always have the energy to give your ailing loved one your best. Plus, you can remain confident your seniors receive top-notch support and attention daily from our highly trained home caregivers.
Click here to contact Bluebird Homecare today. We look forward to discussing our in-home senior care services with you!