During National Depression Education & Awareness Month Are You Thinking About the Seniors in Your Life?
October is National Depression Education & Awareness Month. Surprisingly to some, depression is a fairly common problem for older adults, but it is important to know that is not any more normal for older adults to be affected by depression than it is for people of any other age or stage of life. The Centers for Disease Control estimates depression occurs at a higher rate for those older adults who are under home healthcare or hospitalized, as opposed to those living in the general community.
Often senior adults may fail to recognize that their feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, their loss of interest in favored activities, lack of motivation, loss of appetite, etc., may be symptoms of clinical depression. Rather, they may merely attribute their feelings to the grief of the many losses they face as they age—loss of physical/mental abilities, loss of loved ones, loss of independence, among others.
There is a difference, though between grief and depression, though. Grief is normal and is characterized by up’s and down’s, that eventually subside or even out over time. Those suffering from depression tend to experience a constant state of hopelessness, that does not subside merely with the passage of time.
It is known that diseases particular to the aging population, such as Parkinson’s, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, may trigger the onset of depression. Depression, also, can be exacerbated by various medications.
So, when caring for an older adult who exhibits signs of depression, it is important to help them explore the possible causes and remedies while demonstrating a generous amount of empathy and understanding for them. Some specific ways you may help them cope day to day would be to:
- Find ways to help them stay engaged with others
- Encourage them to develop healthy habits, through exercise, nutrition & sleep
- Recognize when they may need to seek the advice of a health professional
For a more in depth discussion of this subject, click on the following link:http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-in-older-adults-and-the-elderly.htm
For more resources for the senior adults in your life, please visit us on our website: www.transitiontamers.com.