One’s golden years should be a time free of worry and filled with things that make life enjoyable. However, at Home Care Assistance of Lincoln, we recognize that aging can be difficult, accompanied by various challenges ranging from declining health and changes in lifestyle to loss of loved ones and loneliness. While some seniors turn to the church or to their family and friends for help during this difficult time, many internalize their emotions resulting in feelings of depression.
Depression is a common problem among the elderly with studies reporting there are more than 6.5 million Americans aged 65 and older who suffer from the condition. If you are concerned an aging loved one has depression, here are a few of the common warning signs:
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Irritability and social withdrawal
- Complains of increased pains
- Extreme fluctuations in appetite or weight
- Inability to sleep and fatigue
To combat the above feelings, seniors are being encouraged to seek psychological help in the form of therapy. More and more older adults are utilizing professional therapy later in life because as seniors are living longer, they recognize their elder years may be easier and more comfortable if they alleviate the problems they’ve been carrying for years, sometimes decades.
What’s important for adult children to understand is when your aging loved ones were in their 20s and 30s, depression was associated with fear and being moved to an institution. Fortunately, attitudes have shifted over time, along with the medical community’s understanding of mental illness among seniors. The assumption that changes in mood or actions are clear indicators of dementia is no longer, and doctors and gerontologists are much more aware and educated on the topic as well as what can be done to help.
Although depression is a sensitive topic, it is crucial that the condition doesn’t go untreated. Encourage your loved one to seek assistance if needed and show that you are supportive. Also, know that it may take more than one conversation before your aging loved one feels comfortable enough to open up.
Are you or an aging loved one looking for more information on depression? Perhaps you are an adult child who needs help caring for Mom or Dad. Maybe an experienced caregiver could help an aging loved one with chores around the home and offer companionship. Whatever the reason, Home Care Assistance of Lincoln is here to help. Available 24/7, reach out to a Care Manager at 402-261-5158 any time of day and schedule a complimentary in-home assessment.