Your senior may have far more reason to be depressed than you might think. His life changes dramatically as he ages and if he’s experiencing serious health issues, he is likely seeing some serious changes. It’s emotionally painful for some people to rely on family members and senior care providers for assistance, which can lead to depression way too easily.
Stay Alert for Behavioral Changes
A depressed person rarely tells the people they love that they’re feeling depressed. Instead, they often try to be strong and to push through, no matter how difficult or impossible the situation feels at the time. Your senior may be trying to put a brave face on things, but he may be overlooking the fact that medical intervention is often the best solution for depression. Behavior changes can be your very first sign that something isn’t quite right.
With depression, your senior may feel sad, but more prevalent are feelings of despair or that life isn’t worth living. This can be especially true if your elderly family member is experiencing health issues that aren’t easy to recover from at this stage. Your senior may be more pessimistic than usual, or even express feelings of paranoia or that something bad is going to happen.
Depression also has physical signs that might manifest in different ways. Your elderly family member might seem to have no energy at all or he might find that all he wants to do is to sleep all the time. He could also experience insomnia and his appetite might be very different than usual. Your elderly family member might also start to neglect personal hygiene tasks, like brushing his hair, bathing, or brushing his teeth.
It’s Not All Horrible News
Staying alert for these types of signs can empower both you and your aging family member. Talk with your senior’s doctor about what you’re noticing and determine if there’s an underlying medical cause. If there is, treating that medical cause often helps the depression. Sometimes there’s no medical cause, but there are other factors. Your senior’s doctor can help you to narrow down potential causes.
Watching for these and other signs of depression can help you to maintain your elderly family member’s quality of life. It’s going to be much easier for him to age in place happily if he’s got the support and assistance that he needs to keep him from battling depression.