A majority of seniors suffer from depression and the sad thing is that many people do not know how to recognize the signs of depression in their loved ones. Further, depression among seniors often goes undiagnosed which is another problem in itself. To help your loved ones get the help they need as soon as they need it, you need to be able to recognize the signs of depression. Here are the signs to look for.
Insomnia and Irritability
Depression can cause insomnia in people of all ages, but it affects seniors more than younger people. Seniors who sleep for too few hours, sleep late or wake up earlier than usual might have depression. This is much more likely to be the case if the insomnia is chronic.
Insomnia combined with depression can lead to irritability. Although many seniors are naturally irritable, irritability that is out of character could be an indication of a deeper problem such as depression.
Insomnia is also associated with fatigue. However, seniors with depression also often feel tired even after they have had a full night’s sleep.
Engaged and active seniors do not often withdraw from their friends and family. If a loved one starts getting withdrawn, it is time to start exploring whether they may be depressed.
Social withdrawal is often associated with anxiety, with a loved one feeling anxious around familiar people and situations, leading to the withdrawal. They are then unable to calm themselves down leading to a cycle of anxiety and withdrawal.
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It is quite common for people suffering from depression to skip meals due to a lack of appetite. The loss of appetite might also be caused by a loss of the will to eat. If you notice weight loss in your loved ones, check to see if their appetite is okay and whether they are eating as they ought to.
How You Can Help
When you notice any of the signs of depression in your loved one, it is important to encourage them to seek the appropriate treatment. Depression does not simply go away and ignoring it only makes things worse. Depression can also get worse in loved ones who live alone so it is important to interact and communicate with a loved one regularly. In addition to helping ease their depression, these interactions can also help you notice if things start getting worse.
Another thing you can do is encourage your loved one to consider assisted living communities. In assisted living facilities, signs of depression cannot go unnoticed because there are experienced caregivers whose only job is to keep an eye on your loved one’s well-being. Brentwood assisted living facilities like McKnight Place have experienced caregivers standing by to alert families and physicians if they notice any signs of depression. The neighbors and residents in these communities can also help alert caregivers if they notice signs of depression in one of the residents.
Sadly, depression is very common in older loved ones. To help get your loved ones the help they need, it is important to learn to recognize the signs of depression.