As the body changes with age, life can become more difficult. You’re not able to do some things you could before. Many other things become harder on your own. For some, you lose independence quickly. For others, you lose it slowly, but you still lose it to some degree. You may face illness and disease you’ve never had. Many also suffer from a lack of social interaction. All these factors increase your chances for depression as you age.
5 Signs of Depression in Seniors
Though depression is common among seniors, it’s also often overlooked. This could be partly because the symptoms are often displayed in different ways than younger people. Another reason is the symptoms can be similar to those of other common illnesses and medications. Learn to identify the following 5 signs of depression in the elderly.
Lack of Self-Care
Things that used to be important to them regarding their self-image are often neglected. They seem to stop caring about their appearance. You may notice they stop doing things like personal hygiene, bathing, makeup, and shaving. They may also experience feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and severe pessimism.
Apathy Toward Personal Interests
They may show little to no interest in hobbies, activities, and other things they once enjoyed. They simply don’t want to do anything. Nothing you suggest ever sounds good to them. This is particularly dangerous as inactivity only makes it worse. Some assisted living facilities provide activities, hobby opportunities, and events for social interaction. Check for more details.
You may notice they get angry or irritated much easier than before. Things that have always bothered them are now enhanced. What’s more, they get easily irritated about things that never bothered them before. Notice their mood and temperament. Take special notice of significant shifts.
Recent Trauma: Illness, Surgery, or Loss
Illness and injury affect you a lot more as you age, and recovery is harder and takes much longer. This can lead to depression if not addressed or treated. Often, when an elderly person loses a spouse or a child it easily leads to depression, too. If an elderly loved one is hospitalized due to illness or surgery, or if they lose someone they love, spend some time with them. Help them walk through recovery or the grieving process. Loneliness increases the chances for depression.
Depression can make physical ailments in seniors seem worse. Pain turns your focus inward anyway, and the pain of depression can amplify other pain. You may also notice them having aches and pains, headaches, and other pains with no clear cause. And they may not improve even with treatment. Take note of their complaints about aches and pains.
Seniors often experience an extreme lack of social interaction. People just don’t come around as much as they once did. It may be even worse if they live in a facility. Everyone needs people to relate to and interact with. Without it, loneliness can take over. Loneliness, as said before, increases the chances for depression.
You can help your senior loved one get through loneliness and depression simply by spending time with them. Don’t let them face the life changes that come with aging alone. Visit them. Take part in one of their hobbies with them, or help them find a new one such as gardening. Help them find other outlets for social interaction.
Know the Signs
While depression in seniors is common, it doesn’t necessarily have to be for your elderly loved ones. Often, they just need someone to be there with them. The need to be loved and give love never fades. Get started with this guide to depression in seniors to understand the signs. At the end of the day, however, they may just need you.
Unlimited Care Cottages takes a proactive approach to meeting our guests’ needs for relationship and social interaction. Contact Us to learn more about how we foster community to keep our guests from feeling lonely and isolated.