Depression and mental illness was for so long perceived as a taboo subject, but in recent years it has become discussed far more openly than ever before. A lot of attention has focused on depression in teenagers and young adults, although it’s a medical condition that affects people of all ages. Many seniors across the country live with depression every day, but we may be totally oblivious to their anguish.
One of the main reasons why elderly depression is so common and yet so hidden is because we don’t know about it. With so many senior citizens living alone, they might have nobody in whom they can confide their problems. Also, it is a recurring theme amongst older people that they might dismiss feelings of depression as part of the aging process, or they keep their feelings to themselves for fear of upsetting younger relatives.
Therefore, we should always be on the lookout for signs of depression in parents and elderly relatives. If you notice them becoming very withdrawn, losing enthusiasm even for common activities like eating or walking, or if they begin to disregard their personal care, you may need to intervene as these are all red flags.
You can try talking to the person at first and attempt to get to the root of their depression so that you can suggest actions that would help. Perhaps the person would benefit from joining an interest group, going for gentle daily exercise or getting a pet for companionship. Even pledging to spend more time with the person or inviting them to have dinner with you a couple of times a week could make a notable difference. If you feel like you’ve tried everything to help, though, and the person continues to feel badly depressed, that’s the time to enlist professional help from a qualified counselor.
Find out more about recognizing depression in senior citizens by reading this infographic from
Be Independent Home Care