As experienced home caregivers for seniors in the San Jose area, we know that depression is fairly common, especially among seniors and the elderly. Feeling down occasionally is natural for anyone, however when someone is truly depressed it is important to treat and monitor the condition. It’s understandable that seniors get depressed more frequently given the fact they are aging, they’ve lost more loved ones than younger people, they may suffer from a variety of medical conditions, and some medicines can cause depression. One out of five seniors age 55 or older suffer from a mental health issue, a staggering statistic when you think about it.
As a caregiver, what are some of the symptoms you should be aware of in an elderly adult that could indicate depression? Here are some of the most common.
- Loss of interest in favorite hobbies/activities
- Excessive sleep, or being unable to sleep
- Unusual tiredness
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
As an in home caregiver, is there something you can do to help? Yes. Whether an aging loved one has started exhibiting symptoms of depression or doesn’t seem depressed at all, you can help keep it away or help a senior deal with symptoms so that depression doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
Encourage a loved one to spend some time on the Internet. Using social platforms such as Facebook or Skype to enjoy face-to-face conversations helps seniors feel – and stay -connected to loved ones.
Get your senior moving. Exercise helps increase “feel good” chemicals such as endorphins in the brain. Even though an older person may not be able to do strenuous exercise, something as simple as a daily walk or seated strength training can help his/her mental attitude tremendously.
Encourage making new friends. Seniors often feel all alone; whether by getting out to a movie or book club once a month, playing bridge occasionally, or joining a local senior activity center/club, encourage seniors to get out a meet new people.
Depression can be mild, or it can be severe enough to warrant medical attention. Be aware of the symptoms, help an aging loved one as much as you can through encouragement, and call the doctor when a senior or aging parent seems to have more than what you would consider a normal bout of the blues.
At Care Indeed, our San Jose caregivers are compassionate, caring, and dedicated to helping the seniors they care for live happy, independent lives in their own homes. Call us today to learn more about our wide array of services.