We all go through periods of time where we just want to be alone for a little while, to think through situations in our lives without distraction, or to simply have some downtime to ourselves. For older adults, however, an extended period of isolation could indicate one of the all-too-common problems for seniors: depression.
At Nightingale Homecare, our Phoenix caregivers have walked beside many of our senior clients who struggle with depression. First and foremost, it’s important to contact the physician immediately if depression is suspected. It is a treatable condition, and help is available.
Keep an eye out for any of the following red flags of depression in your senior loved ones:
- Loss: Loss in a variety of ways is a key indicator of depression or other medical concern: loss of weight, appetite, self-worth, interest in once enjoyed activities or hobbies, or in spending time with friends or family.
- Slowness: Take note if the senior’s speech or movements have slowed down, if energy and motivation are decreased, or if it takes her longer than normal to recall or share memories.
- Sleep: Depression can wreak havoc on healthy sleep patterns, causing difficulty falling or staying asleep, waking up, or staying awake and alert during the day.
- Neglect: Pay close attention to changes in how the senior takes care of herself; for example, if she has always been attentive to her personal appearance and hygiene, and suddenly begins to neglect personal care, including eating healthy, taking medications, etc.
There are a number of conditions that can either mask as depression or make existing depression worse. Be especially mindful if your senior loved one has or has experienced:
- Heart disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
- Thyroid conditions
Suspected depression in seniors should never be taken lightly, or shrugged off as, “She’s just feeling sad; she’ll get over it!” It is a chronic medical condition and requires help and treatment.
And, you don’t have to go it alone! The Phoenix caregivers of Nightingale Homecare are here to help seniors struggling through depression or any other condition. We’re experienced in providing compassionate, understanding care for seniors, serving as a friendly companion to help gently encourage healthy eating, participation in social activities, and exercise programs, provide transportation to doctors’ appointments and to pick up prescriptions, and more.
Contact us at 602-504-1555 any time for more tips on helping seniors with depression, or to begin a dialogue about how in-home care from our Phoenix caregivers can help your senior loved one experience a renewed interest in life.