It isn’t unusual for individuals to develop depression as they grow older, and while it is not a normal and expected aspect of aging, it is more common in older people. Loss of a spouse or child, changes in lifestyle, memories of happy times – all of these things understandably cause people to feel a bit sad or depressed at times. Health issues can also contribute to depression, and pain as well. Some who age feel as though they no longer have a purpose, and finding a new meaning in life can be difficult.
At Care Indeed, our San Francisco caregivers are well aware of the symptoms of depression in the elderly. These symptoms may include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Gastrointestinal issues, or aches/pains that cannot be explained
- Neglect of personal hygiene
- Memory issues
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Weight gain or loss
- Withdrawing from social activities the individual used to look forward to
- Speech or movement that is unusually slow
Depression isn’t always caused by aging, loss of a loved one, loneliness, or a lifestyle change. It can also be caused by certain medical conditions, including cancer, diabetes, stroke, dementia, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, or a thyroid disorder. There are also medications that may contribute to depression or even cause it, as the elderly often become sensitive to medications due to metabolism and how the body processes drugs. Medications such as opiates, blood pressure medicine, steroids, valium or other anxiety/sleep medications, estrogen, and drugs to control high cholesterol can worsen depression.
After retirement, many who are aging feel a loss of purpose. At a certain age, some may not be capable of driving safely anymore, which takes away some of a person’s independence. Grief over the death of a spouse or other family member, or even a much loved pet can lead to depression.
It’s very important for those who are elderly to engage socially and stay active. A short walk outdoors each day can help ease depression. Having someone to play a game of cards with or simply talk with can make someone who is aging feel as though he/she is still connected.
Never think that depression is normal, and simply a part of aging. If you are the family of an elderly mother, father, aunt, uncle, or other loved one who shows signs of depression, keep in mind you don’t have to try to deal with it all on your own. In home caregivers can provide companionship during meals, assist with reading, puzzles, painting, or other hobbies, and do something as simple as engage in conversation. Essentially, lots of love and support can go a long way in helping those who are depressed feel better and helping them cope with life, ultimately.
To learn more about our home care services and how our caregivers can help, give Care Indeed a call today.