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Beating Depression in Older Adults


Is your elderly loved one showing sudden moodiness or constant complaints about pains and aches? Don’t dismiss these issues right away because they could be signs that your loved one is suffering from depression. As a person reaches age 65, he can experience physical decline and some losses like loss of income and independence, loss of loved ones, or loss of health. All of these can lead to emotional issues and depression.

Signs of depression can come in a lot of forms. Although a number of older adults openly talk about their depression, some of them just keep it inside. It is imperative that aging people look for a way to fight off depression since the older they get, the more likely their depression can lead to health issues.

Treatments for Depression

If depression is suspected, elderly people must see a physician to rule out any health issues. The healthcare professional will ask questions on symptoms and conduct a review of health and family history. He will assess medications because a number of them can cause depression-like symptoms. Every person with depression needs an individualized treatment. Mild depression may be treated with exercise, increased physical and social activities, as well as diet changes. In case of a more serious depression, the patient may be referred to a psychologist or counselor for more elderly care. Below are the treatment options for depression:

• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This therapy helps the sufferer see how the way he behaves or thinks may be causing his depression. It helps him think realistically to make him feel better.

• Psychotherapy. This therapy helps a senior with depression in seeing how his condition may be related to an event in the past.

• Antidepressant medications. If the patient has depression and has difficulty sleeping, as well as experiences loss of appetite and weight loss, his physician may recommend an antidepressant. Many depressed people find these medications helpful.

• Electroconvulsive Therapy. If the depression is severe enough that puts the life of the sufferer at risk, this therapy is used. In some cases, this therapy is also used in the depression not healed by any other treatments.

Dealing with Depression

To fight depression, it is important to create methods to counter the common causes of depression. Below are some helpful strategies:

• Treat Both Chronic Illness and Depression. In older adults, depression is complicated because of the other disorders involved. For instance, the brain of people with Parkinson’s disease are affected, which can exacerbate depression. That is why both depression and chronic illness must be treated simultaneously.

• Prevent Substance abuse. Drug and alcohol abuse is common among people who are more than 60 years old. A lot of aging people self-medicate with drugs and alcohol with their loneliness or chronic pain. However, because alcohol is depressive, it will depress the patient even more. Also, drugs and alcohol can interfere with the effects of the medicines a senior may be taking for their chronic illness.

• Deal with sleeplessness. It is common for elderly people to suffer from sleep issues. But sleeplessness is quite prevalent in those who are depressed. Depression treatment for seniors must address any sleep issues and help them practice good sleep habits like cutting down or eliminating caffeine and going to sleep at the same time every night.

• Help the senior connect with others. Research has shown that people who have strong networks are more able to fight depression, particularly during their senior years. And because losing family and friends is part of aging, seniors need to concentrate on meeting new people.

• Hire a companion. One of the reasons for senior depression is loneliness. As kids leave their homes to start their own career and family, aging parents are left with nobody to talk to or share meals with. Home care in Florida could be the right solution to ensure that somebody is there to accompany a senior every day.

Hand in Hand Home Care Solutions has compassionate caregivers who are happy to help your seniors enjoy their independence and life at home. They can play games with them or run errands for them. For home care services, please call us at 407-335-4676.

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Hand in Hand Home Care Solutions, LLC, Home Health Services, Winter Park, FL