Identifying, Treating, & Preventing Depression in Aging Adults

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Senior depression is often thought of as just another side effect of aging. However, it’s important for seniors and their caregivers to understand that depression doesn’t have to be inevitable. In fact, almost all cases of depression are treatable, and early treatment can reduce the impact this common mental health condition can have on your senior loved one’s quality of life.

 

When to Seek Treatment

It’s normal for seniors to experience occasional brief bouts of sadness in response to life changes such as losing loved ones. However, any symptoms of depression that last longer than two weeks should warrant a visit to the doctor. Some symptoms of depression you might notice in your loved one include the following:

  • Changes in sleeping habits 
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness 
  • Withdrawal from social activities 
  • Eating more or less during meals 
  • Complaints of aches and pains that don’t respond to treatment 
  • Lack of interest in favorite activities 
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Mental and emotional challenges are common for many aging adults, but seniors don’t have to handle them alone. For families living in Potomac, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Assisting Hands Home Care, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

 

Types of Treatment Available

Seniors today can benefit from a wide range of treatment options that can boost their mood and reduce the symptoms of depression. Antidepressant medications are one option that can help seniors begin healing from their depression. Psychotherapy or counseling can also be beneficial. Many seniors feel significantly better when these two types of treatment are combined. Daily exercise, dietary changes, and frequent social interaction may also be recommended by a physician in addition to other treatments.

If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Potomac families can trust. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. 

 

Reducing Risk Factors

Although depression is caused by changes in the brain that may not always be preventable, there are some things your family can do to reduce the risk of your loved one developing depression. For example, seniors and their caregivers can make plans for expected life changes, such as retirement, that can generate symptoms of depression. Regular social contact can also reduce feelings of isolation while providing an opportunity for caregivers to check in with their loved ones so potential cases of depression can be identified early.

Mental and emotional issues can have a significant impact on seniors’ overall health and wellbeing, so they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality in-home care. Trust Assisting Hands Home Care to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably. Call us today to learn about our comprehensive in-home care plans.