April 4, 2011
Depression in the elderly is a widespread problem, but is not often recognized or treated, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A number of life changes can increase the risk for depression, or make existing depression worse. Caring for a spouse or family member also can add to those feelings of depression. According to the NIH, some of the other changes and life events are:
- Adapting to a move from home to an apartment or retirement facility
- Chronic pain
- Feelings of isolation or loneliness as children move away and their spouse and close friends die
- Loss of independence (problems getting around, caring for themselves, or driving)
- Multiple illnesses
- Struggles with memory loss and problems thinking clearly
Look for the signs that an older loved one may be depressed and need help:
- Being more confused or forgetful.
- Eating less. The refrigerator may be empty or contain spoiled food.
- Not bathing or shaving as often. Visitors may notice smells of urine or stool. Clothes may be dirty and wrinkled.
- Not taking care of the home.
- Stopping medicines or not taking them correctly.
- Withdrawing from others. Not talking as much, and not answering the phone or returning phone calls.
The support of a CAREGiverSM from Home Instead Senior Care® can go a long way toward helping an older loved one who is depressed or suffering the strain of caring for a sick spouse or other family member.
For more information about depression, go to: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001521.htm
Readers also read the article: 10 Practical Coping Solutions for Chronic Conditions
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