Depression is a clinical condition that is much more than feeling sad. It is a medical condition that affects the brain and makes it difficult for a person to feel joy or happiness. It can make coping with daily life extremely difficult and casts a dark shadow over thoughts and the person’s perception of life.
Taking depression seriously is the most important thing that you can do for a loved one. When you recognize the symptoms of depression you can find appropriate help and treatment. Those who suffer from depression can’t be “cheered up” by a happy dinner or a party. Treating depression requires clinical help from a trained professional.
It is important to note that depression in older adults is not normal. If a senior loved one is exhibiting any of the following signs for more than a few weeks, encourage them to seek help. Here are five ways that you can tell if a loved one is depressed:
Your loved one may be depressed for many reasons. Traumatic events such as the death of a loved one, sudden changes in living circumstances and illness can cause depression. Alcohol and/or drug abuse can be a contributing factor. The onset of a severe illness such as cancer, stroke and heart disease can lead to depression and certain medications can contribute to it as well.
If your loved one exhibits changes in mood, personality or behavior for more than a few weeks, consider that he or she may be depressed. Seniors may not readily admit it and may not seek help on their own. Talk to your loved one gently about what you are observing and encourage them to seek help and support. Offer to go with him or her to talk to someone for the first time so that they don’t feel alone. The Catch-22 of depression is that even if a person knows that he or she needs help, the disease will remove the energy or motivation to seek it.
Learn more about LivHOME’s Behavioral and Mental Health Care program.