Depression is very high in the elderly but they are less likely to receive treatment for it than those who are younger. For one, the symptoms of depression are often written off as simply the symptoms of aging. Lethargy is not only more common among the elderly, but a sign of depression. If you are responsible for taking care of an elderly parent, you will need to learn the signs of elderly depression:
Symptoms Can Be Difficult to Pinpoint
One of the factors that complicates depression is that it often occurs with other disabilities. Aches and pains that you think might be the result of aging can actually be caused by depression. You might also notice that your loved one does not take pain medication you offer them to treat the pain. This is associated with another symptom of depression: neglect of personal care.
Personal Care Might Suffer
While some elderly patients can have a difficult time with personal care, they will want to take care of themselves, but simply struggle. But for elderly patients who are suffering from depression, they have a devil-may-care attitude toward personal care.
You will need to pay close attention to crucial medical care, such as whether your loved one is taking his or her medications. This will be the result of a lack of motivation, energy and a feeling that taking medications simply doesn't matter.
Hopelessness Often Sets In
Ask your loved one about his or her day and whether your loved one is able to accomplish everyday tasks. Depression not only creates a feeling of hopelessness, but feelings of helplessness also contributes to depression. It may be necessary to hire at-home care to help with cooking, cleaning and other chores.
You Might Need a Therapist
Since depression occurs with other conditions, you should consider taking your loved one to a therapist. A therapist that is specialized in dual diagnosis can use techniques, such as well-established questionnaires, to identify the level of depression for your loved one. Also, many have misconceptions about aging and see it as a character flaw, so it is important for a therapist to talk with your loved one and challenge these views.
Beware of Risk Factors
The most important periods to watch out for is when an elder has become widowed. During these periods, the elder is often under significant shock, especially after spending possibly decades living with their spouse. Divorce is another common risk factor for depression. This is a time when you should spend as much time with your loved one as possible.
To learn more, contact a company like Always Dependable with any questions or concerns you have.