Owners' Blog

Depression and How to Help Seniors Cope

By Greg and Hilary Eldridge

Home Care in Roswell GA

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is the most common mental illness in those over the age of 65. Some experts believe that 10 percent of seniors who have been Home Care in Roswell GAdiagnosed with dementia actually struggle with depression. Because it is so common, it’s important to understand what depression is, what the symptoms are, and what can be done to help seniors cope with depression.

What is Depression?

It is completely normal to feel sad at times, especially after the death of a loved one or after experiencing a major change in lifestyle. It’s also common for depression to set in during certain months of the year. What’s not normal is sadness that’s accompanied by feelings of being helpless, hopeless, or worthless. It’s especially abnormal to feel like this for several days or weeks.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of depression vary from person to person. However, a depressed person experiences at least five of these symptoms at the same time:

  • Depressed mood for most of the day
  • Not having energy or fatigue every day
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Inability to fall asleep or sleeping too much
  • No interest in activities
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Feeling restless
  • Weight gain or weight loss

It’s important for seniors receiving elderly care who exhibit these symptoms to be evaluated by their health care provider or a psychologist. Once an exact diagnosis is determined, the more effectively it can be treated.

What Can Be Done to Help?

Much can be done to help seniors who are struggling with depression but it often depends on the cause. For instance, for seniors whose depression is caused by the body’s inability to produce adequate amounts of a chemical called serotonin, certain medications might be able to help. There are also some natural ways to boost serotonin levels including:

  • Going for a walk
  • Getting some sun
  • Supplements such as inositol or 5-hydroxytryptophan
  • Vitamins B6 and B12
  • Eating brightly colored vegetables
  • Besides low levels of serotonin causing depression, it can also be caused by certain medications, genetics, being the victim of abuse, substance abuse, or dealing with a chronic illness.

For those receiving senior care services in their home and are suffering with depression because they are lonely or are having a hard time adjusting due to a loss of independence they can be helped in the following ways:

  • Talking to someone about how they feel
  • Getting a pet
  • Making sure their pain is managed appropriately
  • Ensuring they have a healthy diet
  • Helping them make new friends
  • Helping them find a new purpose in life
  • Even though depression is quite common in seniors, it is helpful to know there are many treatment options available and other things that can be done to alleviate the symptoms.

If you or an aging loved one are looking for home care in Roswell, GA, contact the caring staff at Home Helpers of Alpharetta. Call today (678) 430-8511.