Depression in Elderly Individuals
If you have a loved one who is growing older, then it’s important to understand one thing they may face as they age is depression. It can come on for a number of different reasons, including retirement, the death of someone they love, increasing health problems, moving to a nursing home, etc. No matter the case, no one should suffer from depression, especially not elderly loved ones.
Depression is a condition in which a person feels down, sad, hopeless, or out of control. At times, it needs to be treated with medication due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. At other times, it comes on simply because of a change in life, which is common in elderly individuals. If your loved one is showing signs of depression, then there are things you can do to help.
Understand It Is a Serious Thing
It is vital that you understand this is not just “feeling bad.” This is a serious condition that could have serious consequences. Depression has more than once been devastating to people as well as their friends and family. It can come and go or it may stay as one long condition. Either way, you need to treat this as something serious and not just brush it off.
Talk to Your Loved One
Sometimes, your elderly loved one may just need to talk and vent their feelings. For example, if they are depressed because they moved into a nursing home, they may feel much better just discussing it with someone who cares. Don’t force them to talk, but make it clear that you are there to listen whenever they want.
Know the Signs
The worst thing you could do is ignore signs that your loved one is depressed. They may not talk about it or they may even say they are perfectly fine. So, it falls on you to look for things that may indicate something is wrong. They may wring their hands, be uninterested in eating, withdraw from social activities, etc.
Don’t Try to Force Them to Be Happy
Your elderly loved one needs help, not someone trying to force them into thinking and acting differently. Yes, you do need to listen and yes you do need to talk with their physician, but don’t tell them to “just smile” or “act happy and you will be happy.” It doesn’t work that way.
Whether your loved one is moving into a nursing home or has something else going on, you need to understand that you have to work as a support system for your elderly family. They are going through a difficult time and you need to be there for them. If you would like to learn more about how to make a transition to a nursing home better or how to ensure living in a nursing home is happy, then read these articles too (Five Ways to Make an Assisted Living Move Successful and Four Steps to Happier Living in a Nursing Home). They can help you ensure your loved one doesn’t become depressed because they need to stay in an assisted living facility.
Tags: Independent Living