Many people dismiss depression in the elderly as a normal part of aging and something seniors can just “snap out of.” However, this is not the case. Depression is a serious mood disorder that can be particularly dangerous in the elderly. If gone unchecked and untreated, depression can lead to serious consequences.
What Causes Depression?
Many factors can contribute to the development of depression in the elderly. Factors include family history and/or genetics, death of a loved one, recent major life change, deteriorating health, substantial financial issues, or even side effects of certain medications.
Recognizing Signs and Symptoms
Identifying signs and symptoms of depression in seniors can often be more difficult than in younger people. Being “sad” or “down” is not always the main indicator. Symptoms can include loss of motivation or energy, difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than normal, lack of concentration, loss of interest, or unexplainable aches or pains.
Battling depression is often described as a marathon, not a sprint. Many physicians suggest a long-term treatment plan of psychotherapy and medication. For seniors, since declining health can be a risk factor for depression, healthcare professionals suggest seniors initially see their primary care physicians. There, primary care doctors can run tests and perform physicals to rule out any physical ailment. Next, a psychiatrist will work with the patient to create a balanced medication plan. The psychiatrist will most likely recommend scheduling an appointment with a therapist. This route is most common; however, this treatment plan may not work for all seniors. No two people have the same depression symptoms. That is why finding the right method of treatment is so important.
Depression in the elderly is a very serious matter. If you notice your senior loved one exhibiting symptoms, talk to them and suggest seeking help.
At Schonberg Care, we understand the importance of our residents’ mental health. That’s why all of our communities are staffed with expertly trained professionals dedicated to helping our residents who struggle with depression. If you or a loved one are searching for an assisted living facility in Louisiana or Mississippi, consider a Schonberg Care community. We are committed to ensuring that every resident we are privileged to serve is treated with respect and compassion, embraced by a spirit of community that reveres and encourages the unique dignity of each individual. Find a community near you today.