Recognize Depression in The Elderly

Depression in the elderly

The nature in life has one constant: Change. Everything changes, at all times. Life marches on, with every passing second. In the later stages in life, those changes have a different affect on people. Dealing with loneliness, isolation, the loss of loved ones, retirement, so many factors, could be so much to bear for our seniors.  The shadow of depression lingers on. And at this stage in life, chances on getting depressed are very high.

The toll that depression has on our lives can alter us to our very core. It not only tarnishes our mood and outlook in life, it impacts our energy, diminishes appetite and tramples your sleep. All these changes have a direct correlation to our health. Now, imagine being hit with it during the late stages in life. The effects can be quite larger. Depression, in no way, shape or form is a natural part of life, or a natural stage. We have come to accept it as a something that just simply happens. It doesn’t have to be that way. Depression is not just another part of aging; it can be prevented and dealt with. But if an elder loved one or relative is going through it, chances are that your family has not yet picked up the symptoms.  It is important to learn to recognize the symptoms, and act accordingly. Knowledge is one key step of the way, and we here at DMS would like to provide some help on the matter.

There are several red flags that you should keep an eye out for. These might be indicators of a larger problem below the surface. If your elder loved ones experience some of the following signs and symptoms, they could be going through depression: sadness, fatigue, loss of interest in hobbies or past times, isolation, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, loss of self-worth, increased use of alcohol and a fixation on death.

As we grow older we will experience several changes in our lives that can very well be a trigger for depression. No matter our background, or who we are, anyone can go through depression. It doesn’t mean we have a weak character or fragile personality. It I something that just simply happens.  It should be pointed out that grief and depression are very similar creatures, but a different animal altogether. While they share many similarities. Grieving is a natural part of life, it happens to most of us, but grieving is not necessarily depression. There are key factors that can help differentiate the two. Signs that suggest depression and not grief are: Intense sense of guilt, preoccupation with death, feelings of hopelessness, slow speech and body movements, seeing or hearing things that are not there. Grief can be dealt with, perhaps more easily than depression. Because during the grieving process.  Contrary to depression, it allows for us to experience brief moments of joy, pleasure and happiness. 

There are many suggestions for ways to deal with depression for the elderly, and some of those ways can allow for them to take action on their own and make them feel independent and increase their self-esteem.  Taking on physical activities and exercises can very well help keep the mind occupied and it is a natural way to fight depression. Also, you know the saying laughter is the best medicine? Well in this case it is very true. Sharing laughs and making other people laugh is an activity recommended by a lot of experts for people who are dealing with depression.

If you notice certain changes on the mood and behavior of a elder loved one, go with your gut and observe them more closely. Be objective and see if they might need some help. Do not be afraid to talk with them about their feelings. Be understanding and caring. It might be a touchy subject for them, but if you approach them with love and good intentions, the first step in the right direction will be taken.

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