It’s not uncommon for senior individuals to experience feelings of sadness. In fact, research reports that mental health issues in seniors is quite prevalent: depression affects approximately 15 out of every 100 adults over 65 in the United States. It is also found that symptoms of depression often times occur in people who experience chronic illness, which is very common for individuals over 65.
According to The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation, 25 percent of individuals who are facing chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s also experience depression. The foundation also reports that depression is diagnosed in nearly 50 percent of nursing home residents, putting these individuals at risk for greater complications.
Depression Is NOT Inevitable
Depression isn’t inevitable, but it is a possibility. According to healthcare professionals, it is also a very treatable illness that can be controlled by daily activities, medication and counselling. The important point is to recognize when depression is threatening.
As a caregiver, there are many ways to help your loved one fend off symptoms of depression. Meeting both their physical and emotional needs is essential. Because depression is known to worsen symptoms of illness and emotional stability is an essential part of recovery, it is important for your loved one to be equipped with tools to beat depression. It is also important for you as a caregiver to know how to keep your senior loved ones’ spirits high to stage off possible depression.
How to Keep Your Loved Ones Spirits’ High
- Listen to their concerns and respond with sincere empathy.
- Express to your loved one that depression is a very common occurrence and they should not be embarrassed to ask questions about it.
- Encourage your loved one to go outside the home, whether it’s a car ride with the windows down or a short walk around the block. Any physical activity or fresh air is beneficiary.
- Engage them in regular social activities. Group outings and visiting with friends will help combat feelings of loneliness or isolation.
- Make sure your loved one has a healthy diet, with plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein.
- Involve your loved one in their health care plan. Giving them a sense of control and knowledge about their health will give them reassurance that their opinion matters.
- Ensure your loved one is getting plenty of sleep. Studies show that there is a direct relationship between lack of sleep and depression in people 65 years old and older.
- Bond with them over shared memories; bring out family albums and keepsakes and share stories.
We're Here To Help.
Helping your senior loved one overcome or prevent depression can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task. That is why it is important to have a partner in home health care. The professionals at Freudenthal Home Health are there for Family Caregivers, helping you navigate the complex and rewarding journey at hand. For more information about services FHH provides for Family Caregivers and their loved ones, contact us today.