Depression affects millions of Americans especially people aged 65 and above. However, only a small percentage of victims seek treatment. Living a life of joy, connection, and purpose is important irrespective of your age. Every person deserves to enjoy not only physical health but also mental wellbeing.
Older adults experience many challenges like social isolation, vision loss, memory issues, and mobility difficulties. All these factors could make life less enjoyable and lead to depression. At Mom's Home Care, we focus on providing uplifting in-home care services that benefit seniors and dependent adults. We create individualized care plans for our clients to ensure that every client is getting a personalized service to suit their needs. We provide the best depression care in Los Angeles, CA.
Depression in Older Adults
Seniors face a risk of physical and mental decline, especially those who experience social isolation. With home care services, a senior will not feel isolated because they will constantly have someone to talk to. Depression in older adults increases the risk of cardiac arrest. Depression also increases the risk of death from other medical conditions. It’s important to identify signs of depression in seniors early enough to facilitate proper care and treatment.
Depression is not a normal part of aging. Suffering from depression can affect the way a senior thinks, lives, or feels. Depression could also affect the physical and cognitive abilities of seniors and reduce their quality of life. Seniors who suffer from other health conditions have a higher risk of developing depression. In many cases, depression in seniors could go unnoticed and untreated.
It’s normal for a senior to experience occasional feelings of sadness. However, you should be keen to notice signs of depression in your loved one to help you take the necessary action. While undergoing home care, your senior can enjoy effective medication treatment.
Risk Factors for Depression
Even if depression is more common in younger people than seniors, seniors are also susceptible to depression. Seniors undergo significant life changes that could lead to sadness, anxiety, and stress. Some of the typical risk factors for depression in seniors include:
- Cognitive impairments like dementia and other severe health conditions
- Chronic pain that is not treated on time
- Dependency or an increased need for support in daily activities
- Loss of income especially after retirement
- Undergoing a traumatic life experience like loss of a loved one or divorce
- Social isolation
The majority of older adults are able to overcome these life changes as long as they have social support. However, a small percentage of seniors may find certain life changes too hard to handle and end up slipping into depression. Other factors that could lead to depression in older adults include a family history of depression or have had depression before. Women are more susceptible to depression than men.
Signs of Depression in Seniors
You should look out for signs of depression in a senior to know whether to seek treatment for him or her. You have to be keen because depression in seniors could easily go unnoticed and untreated. At times, signs of depression could mimic signs of other medical conditions. Many seniors may not be willing to discuss their mental health with you for fear of stigmatization. In some instances, depression symptoms may manifest as physical symptoms. A senior may end up getting treatment for other medical conditions, yet he or she is suffering from depression.
It’s important to note that signs of depression in older persons may differ from depression symptoms in younger people. A depressed senior will experience constant signs of anxiety and sadness. The feelings of anxiety and sadness may extend for several weeks or even months. Some of the leading signs of depression that you should look out for in seniors include:
- Experiencing constant sadness at all times and a constant low energy level
- Loss of interest in activities the senior once enjoyed engaging in including hobbies and socializing with friends
- A hard time focusing, concentrating, making decisions, or remembering
- Sleeping too much or having problems falling asleep
- Increased anxiety, stress, and worry
- Socially isolating or distancing himself or herself from other people, commonly known as withdrawal.
- Using drugs or alcohol excessively
- Rapid weight gain or weight loss
- Experiencing persistent feelings of hopelessness or being worthless
- Constant aches and pain in the body — In most cases, the pain does not fade away even after seeking treatment or taking medication.
- Recurring thoughts of suicide and death — At times, a senior may even attempt to commit suicide.
- Frequent and unexplained crying episodes
- Irritability, lashing out at others, and anger — A senior may frequently get angry for no apparent reason
If you notice that your senior shows any of the signs outlined above for a period exceeding two weeks, it’s an indication that he or she could be suffering from depression and requires depression care. Certain signs of depression require immediate action. For instance, you should act immediately if your senior has attempted suicide or has suicidal thoughts.
Spending ample time socializing is good therapy for depression in many seniors. All the home caregivers at Mom's Home Care are warm and welcoming. They will provide great company for your seniors. Usually, our home caregivers end up becoming the seniors’ best friends. Our caregivers will step in and provide your senior with love and care that he or she needs.
Why Depression Care is Important
You should never ignore signs of depression in your loved one, especially your senior. There are several reasons why depression care is important:
- If no action is taken, depression could increase the risk of suicide and also adversely affect a senior’s health
- Seniors suffering from depression are more likely to abuse drugs or alcohol. Drug and alcohol abuse could lead to falls and accidents causing more harm to the senior
- Depressed people often lack the motivation and desire to continue taking medication or to undergo treatment for certain medical conditions. Therefore, a depressed senior is more likely to abandon treatment for other medical conditions and this could be fatal
- Even if suicide attempts are more common in young people, depression increases the risk of suicide in seniors as well.
Remedies for Depression in Seniors
Coping with depression is hard. However, it’s even more challenging when a senior is struggling with depression. A professional home caregiver can take several actions to help a senior overcome depression. Some of the effective remedies for depression in seniors include:
Ensuring that a Senior Gets Enough Sleep
Sleeping problems are common in seniors especially those that live alone. Sleeping disorders in seniors could aggravate depression. It’s imperative to ensure that a senior gets ample sleep and rest to help lower the chances of depression. If a senior suffers from sleep disorder or sundowning, a caregiver may recommend engaging activities for the senior. In some other instances, a caregiver could keep the needed medication at hand.
Helping a Senior Realize a Sense of Purpose
If a senior has lost the sense of purpose in his or her life, the likelihood of slipping into depression is high. Encouraging a senior to take up a hobby like gardening or knitting can help to keep depression at bay. It also helps to encourage a senior to try part-time activities like yoga or playing cards.
Enhancing Social Interaction
A senior should never stay isolated and deal with depression alone. Visiting friends and interacting with extended family can help an elder to overcome depression easily. Our home caregivers can provide the best companion to your loved one. The caregiver can accompany your loved one to community events and outings. Having an active social life helps to improve mental, physical, and emotional health. Interacting with other people is particularly important for seniors struggling with depression and loneliness.
Keeping Seniors Physically Active
For aging persons, physical activity can be a remedy for many issues, including depression. A professional home caregiver from Mom's Home Care can encourage your loved one to take part in activities like stair climbing, walking, and other age-appropriate workouts. These workouts will enable a senior to stay in great mental, physical, and emotional shape. It’s also advisable to encourage seniors to participate in group exercises or become friends with other like-minded persons.
If a senior is living alone, he or she may not be able to prepare healthy meals. The situation will only be worse if a senior is suffering from depression. This is where a professional home caregiver comes in. Our caregivers understand the best foods to serve aging persons and dependent persons. Some of the recommended foods include vegetables, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains. A healthy diet should not have excess starch, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
Giving Seniors Meaningful Responsibility
A leading cause of depression among seniors is a feeling of hopelessness or being worthless. Most seniors get lost in a whirlwind of negative thinking and self-blame, especially while left alone. Entrusting a senior with a reasonable responsibility can help to restore the sense of purpose and self-worth. Some of the ideal responsibilities include looking after a pet or a tree. Responsibility is a potential mood-booster for a senior. It gives a senior a feeling that he or she can still add value to the community.
Showing Them Love
Love is the best cure for depression, especially among seniors. Showing love for a senior can help to keep the depression levels down. Therefore, you should be extremely careful when choosing the best home caregiver for your loved one. Go for an empathetic caregiver who is able to show love and support to a senior. You need a caregiver who can connect with your loved one and make them feel loved and needed. Love and support are particularly important for widowed seniors who may not have someone to confide in.
Professional Health Care
In addition to choosing professional home care services for your senior, you also need to seek professional health care for them if need be. If you realize that your loved one’s depression is getting worse despite provision of the best depression care, you should contact a mental health professional. You could sign up your loved one for counseling if you realize that their situation is getting worse. The therapist could recommend antidepressants for severe cases of depression. However, in mild cases of depression, alternative medicine like aromatherapy could be the best solution. Another effective remedy for mild depression is occupational therapy.
Monitor the Pills
It’s advisable to ensure that a senior takes his or her pills as required. For instance, if your senior is taking some antidepressants, you should have someone to monitor them and ensure that they take their medication as required. This is where a home caregiver comes in. Professional home caregivers from Mom's Home Care will always be present to ensure that your loved one takes medication as required. Our caregivers will remind your loved one to take all their medications on time. They will also check all the cabinets for any signs of skipped doses of abuse of medication.
Why Choose Mom's Home Care?
At Mom's Home Care, we aim to provide excellent home care services for seniors and dependent adults. With so many home caregiver providers to choose from, what makes Mom's Home Care stand out?
- Compassionate caregivers
- 24/7 availability
- Understanding caregivers
- Medical expertise
- All-inclusive home care services
All our home caregivers understand the physical, financial, and emotional stress that comes with seeking home care services for your loved one. You need to have peace of mind by knowing that your loved one is in safe hands. We provide our home care services in a manner that makes you feel comfortable and gives your loved one the best quality of life.
You can always count on our home care services, including emergency home care services. If you are in a crisis, we’ll provide immediate care for your loved one. You can reach our staff at any time of day or night. Our professional staff work in shifts, and irrespective of the time of day or night, there will always be someone to look after your loved one.
All our caregivers understand that seniors can be a little difficult at times especially if a senior is experiencing depression. Our caregivers will never get agitated even if a senior lashes out at them.
Find a Home Caregiver Near Me
Have you noticed signs of depression in your senior and you are wondering what to do? Mom's Home Care service has a solution for you! We provide professional home care and depression care services in Los Angeles, CA. If you choose us, your loved one will be in the best hands. Contact us at 323-244-4789 and speak to one of our home caregivers.