Many seniors with depression try to avoid getting help for the condition, hoping that the passage of time will somehow make them feel better. Elder care studies have shown, however, that the longer the depression lasts, the harder it is to achieve remission. Left untreated, depression can have a profound impact on your elderly family member’s health and happiness. Early detection and intervention is the key to reversing the damaging effects of depression.
Depression and Heart Disease
Numerous clinical studies have found that depression poses a significant risk for the development of heart disease. One analysis of these studies estimates that seniors suffering from depression are between 50 and 100 percent more at risk for coronary artery disease than people without depressive symptoms. Seniors suffering from depression are also 4.5 times more likely to suffer a heart attack. These studies show that addressing depression early is a heart-healthy strategy.
In addition to suffering emotional pain, studies have shown that adults feel physical pain more intensely when they are depressed. If your loved one suffers from medical conditions like migraines or arthritis, treatment of depression may offer them some relief from chronic pain.
Research has also found that depression can cause structural changes to the areas of the brain most involved with decision-making and memory. Seniors who are depressed find it harder to focus and concentrate. Because staying mentally active is critical to maintaining a healthy brain, the longer a person is depressed, the greater effect it can have on cognitive abilities.
When feeling depressed, seniors are less likely to eat healthy foods, exercise and socialize with family and friends. Worse yet, a change in brain chemicals can trigger cravings for unhealthy foods that result in weight gain and a drop in overall energy levels.
If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from depression, seeking treatment can help your family member enjoy a better quality of life. Learn more about caring for an aging parent or loved one by contacting Albuquerque Home Care Assistance today. Our caregivers are not only available to assist with activities of daily living, they are caring and loving companions who act as support systems and advocates for the clients they serve.
Find out how we customize our hourly and live-in care plans by calling 505-798-0800. Our Care Managers will be able to answer any of your questions and can also help you set up a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to further discuss your loved one’s care needs.