According to the World Health Organization, depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the elderly. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 7.1% of adults in the United States have major depression. If you suspect that a loved one may be experiencing depression, there are things that you can do to help. Brining in in-home care may be one of the solutions.
As we age, our brain structure changes. The brain shrinks and the number of neurons decreases. This decline in the brain structure and a decrease in the number of neurons will cause the elderly to have a decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory, concentration, and decision-making.
In addition, the elderly will have more health issues compared to the young population. These health issues, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, often result in a less active lifestyle and may lead to depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Depression is often related to the death of loved ones, retirement, and a lack of social support, which are common issues in the elderly.
How Can I Tell if an Elderly Person is Depressed?
- Sudden change in appetite, especially loss of appetite or overeating
- Change in sleep pattern (sleeping too much or insomnia)
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Loss of energy and decreased activity
- Loss of interest in family and friends
- Loss of interest in hobbies and previously enjoyed activities
- Poor decision-making
- Poor concentration
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
- Restlessness, agitation, or slowed behavior
- Thoughts of suicide
How Does Depression Affect the Elderly?
Depression is a serious disorder that can lead to a number of issues, including the following:
- Depression may lead to suicide, which is the eighth leading cause of death in people over age 65.
- Depression may lead to heart disease and stroke.
- Depression may lead to a decline in cognitive function.
How Can I Help My Loved One?
First, listen to your loved one. You may not understand what they are going through, but you can offer emotional support and listen to their concerns. Don’t try to solve their problems for them. Many people with depression find that their relationships with family and friends suffer when they are depressed.
Encourage them to seek professional help. If they are hesitant to seek help, you can seek out a mental health professional on their behalf. Mental health professionals are experts who can help them feel better.
In-Home Care can be Part of the Solution
In-home care is a way for older adults to live independently in their own homes. This can be provided by family members or by an in-home care services aide. Older adults who receive in-home care can remain in their own homes longer, and enjoy a high degree of independence and privacy.
It is important to understand that depression is not a normal part of aging and this is not something that people should be expected to ‘tough out’. It is a serious condition that needs to be treated. In-home care can help older adults to continue living in their homes for as long as they are able, or as long as they desire, helping them to deal with depression. We offer your senior the best care. Book a consultation today!