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Treating Depression in Elderly

Signs of senior depression are often dismissed as a normal part of aging. In fact, depression is the leading mental health problem among seniors. Unfortunately, it’s also a condition that often goes undiagnosed and untreated in seniors. A better understanding of what to look for in seniors with depression can help caregivers in Albuquerque and throughout the country know when it’s time to seek professional input.

Signs of Depression in Seniors

Seniors aren’t necessarily secretive about their depression. Oftentimes, they will come out and say they’re depressed to loved ones, friends, or caregivers and such comments will be dismissed as nothing too serious. Even if such comments seem out of character for your senior loved one, an effort should be made to start a productive dialog to determine if there really is a problem beyond occasional sadness. Possible signs of senior depression to watch for include:

• Changes in sleeping habits or excessive fatigue
• Lingering feelings of sadness and pessimistic thoughts
• Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities 
• Recurring aches and pains not responding to treatment
• Persistent thoughts of suicide

Treatment Options

Most instances of senior depression are fully treatable with a combination of therapy and medication, according to Albuquerque elder care professionals. Treatment often starts with antidepressants to counter issues with mood, sleep, appetite and concentration. Therapy often involves determining what caused the depression the first place, with common causes including death of loved ones or friends and persistent health issues. Additional treatments for senior depression may include:

• Encouraging social interactions and starting regular conversations
• Regular exercise and participation in group activities
• Making dietary changes, especially with foods high in sugar and fat

It’s estimated that three out of every 100 seniors experiences clinical depression. Seniors also have a higher suicide rate than other age groups. If you suspect your senior loved one may be depressed, start a conversation with him or her and include his or her primary care doctor so treatment can begin as soon as possible.

While home care services are often attained for seniors who require help with everyday tasks like running errands and preparing meals, the companionship and emotional support provided by a compassionate caregiver can also help prevent feelings of loneliness, depression, and isolation among seniors. To learn more, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Albuquerque live-in home care and part-time home care. Our dedicated Care Managers are available 24/7 to answer questions or discuss care options. Don’t hesitate. Call 505-798-0800 and find the care your loved one needs and deserves.