As people move into their senior years, life can get overwhelming. When seniors face uncertainty and change, depression is sometimes an unwelcome byproduct.
Perhaps they have lost their spouse, or several of their friends – and they fear being left alone. They may be facing a change in residence, or a loss of independence. With so much of “life as we know it” changing, it is easy to see moods change. While depression in seniors is not by any means uncommon, there are ways you can help your loved one to cope with their emotions.
If you are a caregiver and would like to help your loved one cope with depression, here are a few easy steps to take.
Fighting the Symptoms of Depression in Seniors
- Give them a purpose: Many senior citizens fight sadness because they feel that they no longer have a purpose. By introducing a new hobby or activity, you can replace that purpose – whether it be volunteering, writing poetry, or learning to paint.
- Be sure they sleep: Being tired or fatigued can make a sad mood seem even worse, therefore depression is common in those who don’t sleep. You should make sure that your loved one gets plenty of sleep. If they do not, treat the cause of the problem – cut out midday naps, work on a bedtime regimen, or consider a light sedative to encourage sleep.
- Keep them social: Depression in seniors is often brought on by a sense of isolation, but as we age we can tend to keep to ourselves. You can help your loved one by helping them to engage with others, join activities, and go out with friends.
- Concentrate on their health: Staying physically healthy is a great way to combat depression and other mood disorders. Both with regular physical exercise, and maintaining a healthy diet – seniors can live a more balanced life in nearly every way.
- Get them a pet: Animals are used in all types of therapy, and their positive affect on people of all ages is well documented. If your senior is capable of caring for a dog or cat, consider getting them a pet. Not only will it give them that sense of purpose we were discussing above, but petting an animal lowers blood pressure and encourages well-being. Hint: if your loved one is living in an adult residence such as an assisted living facility, ask about their pet policy. In some cases, the facility will provide pet therapy for their residents.
- Give them responsibility: Again, not every senior will be able to take on a meaningful chore. But for those who can, giving them responsibility with help fight depression by keeping their brain active and engaged. Perhaps they can get and sort through your mail, or help with a home business. Being home with grandchildren is also a great way to trust your loved one with responsibility.
- Remind them that they are loved: Nothing can dispel a feeling of loneliness or sadness more quickly than a big hug, or a long conversation reminiscing over coffee. Spending time with your loved one and letting them know how much you love them is a strong antidote for depression.
- Pay attention to medication: Certain prescriptions can cause depression, or an overall fogginess or listlessness. If your loved one seems to be falling into depression, ask their doctor about adjusting or changing medications and dosages.
If you can’t seem to break your loved one out of their depression, you may wish to seek professional help. If you are looking for assisted living or memory care in the Venice area, our dedicated team is here to help you through this difficult transition. Call A Banyan Residence today.