Depression affects people of all ages, including the elderly. This common condition can lead to a multitude of feelings, including helplessness, a lack of energy, increased anger, irritability, a lack of concentration, a loss of appetite, negative emotions and sleep disruptions, among others.
If you have an elderly loved one and are wondering if they might be depressed, here are some things you can do to help combat these feelings:
- Schedule adjustments: Depression can occur for all kinds of reasons, but sleep disruptions are common in elderly people and can cause challenges. Helping your loved one get a good night’s sleep can go a long way to helping them stay positive. Eating regularly and healthily is also a key component.
- Creating a sense of purpose: This could include starting a new hobby, restarting an old activity that brings joy or finding volunteer opportunities that create a sense of purpose. Having something to take care of. like a plant or a pet, may also help.
- Encouraging an active lifestyle: Social interaction is very important to staying active. Age-appropriate physical activity is also a great way to boost someone’s mood and increase wellbeing.
The good news is that depression is treatable – with counseling, medication, a combination of these or even with alternative approaches like occupational therapy or aromatherapy. Letting your elderly loved one know that they are loved and considering changes like home care or a change of living environment can also be considered if needed. Encourage your elderly loved one to seek professional help if you feel it is needed.