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Noticing Depression in Seniors
Depression is more than a feeling; it is a serious mood disorder that needs treatment. It can affect a person’s daily activities, social interactions, and overall health. Depression is NOT a normal stage of aging. (NIHSeniorHealth.gov)

Seniors may experience sadness or anxiety after a disruptive life event like moving, retirement, or death of a loved one.  However, sadness and anxiety are not the same as depression.  Many older adults can regain their emotional balance after a disruptive life event. Grief that lasts a long time or is complicated may require treatment. 

Diagnosing Depression
Older adults are often less willing to talk about their symptoms, so it can be difficult to diagnose depression. Some signs of depression to look for with your older loved one may include:
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Loss of appetite, or overeating
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Persistent aches or pains that don’t get better with treatment
SOURCE: https://www.cdc.gov/aging/mentalhealth/depression.htm

Often times, having a caregiver visit to check-in on your loved one can be helpful if you are concerned about signs of depression.  Caregivers can help stimulate, re-engage and provide companionship to older adults. Our caregivers can take our clients to visit friends, out for activities, shopping, or anywhere else they might enjoy going. Since we keep the same caregiver with the same client, our caregivers can notice and document changes in mood, behavior and the overall health of our clients, which can help the family determine if more help is needed.

If you believe your older loved one is showing symptoms of depression, consult a medical provider.  It is important to be aware of the mental health of your older loved one and communicate openly with them.
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