Depression can hit at any age. Elderly adults are at risk. Some may never experience it. Others have mild cases and don’t realize they’re suffering from depression. Could your parents be depressed? You and their home care services aides should know the signs of depression and how to provide help.
It’s estimated that around 34 million adults age 65 or older have some level of depression. Leading causes of depression include the death of a partner or spouse, an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain, being diagnosed with a chronic health condition, or loneliness and isolation. Despite this, almost seven out of ten older adults do not know the signs of depression or understand the disease.
Know the Different Types of Depression
There are different kinds of depression. Clinical depression is the one that most people know.t It’s often linked to low self-esteem, lack of interest in favorite activities, withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities, and a low mood that occurs daily for two or more weeks. Persistent depressive disorder is similar, but the symptoms are present most days for two or more years.
Seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that occurs with certain seasons. It’s often noticeable in the winter when days are shorter, and the sunlight isn’t as prominent. In the spring and summer, people with seasonal affective disorder start to feel better.
Signs of Depression
What are the common signs of depression? In older adults, changes in appetite, insomnia, and weeks of unexplained sadness are some of the more common ones. Irritability, a lack of interest in things that used to bring joy, difficulty concentrating, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and restlessness are also typical signs of depression.
If you suspect your mom or dad is depressed, talk to their doctors. You may need to push to see a specialist, as some doctors use questionnaires to decide, and your parents may not answer as honestly as they should. If possible, try to be there to give input as they give their answers.
Depression is often graded from severe to mild. Antidepressants may be recommended, but many doctors will suggest therapy sessions with a trained counselor to start. If this is available, these sessions can be done virtually, which may be easier for your mom or dad.
Have Home Care Services Available to Prevent Isolation and Loneliness
Home care services help your parents avoid loneliness and isolation. That may help ease some of the depression risks. Have caregivers stopping by to support your parents through their diagnosis and drive them to and from appointments. It may help to get them out of the house more often, even if it’s just a leisurely drive.
Learn more about having home care services available for medication reminders, appointment scheduling, and meal preparation. With a supportive home care services aide by their side, your parents may start to feel better about themselves. Call to learn more about prices and services that help with depression.