6 Ways to Help Your Aging Loved One with Depression

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Depression can affect people of all ages. When seniors are confronted with major lifestyle changes, illnesses, or the realities of aging, they may develop mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Here are six ways caregivers can help seniors manage depression.


1. Spot the Signs

As with most emotional health issues, the first step to managing depression is recognizing it. Be on the lookout for some of the major signs of depression that may be impacting your aging loved one’s life in many ways. Common signs include persistent feelings of sadness, lack of energy, and loss of interest in hobbies. Over time, the symptoms of depression often become visible. Your loved one may start to neglect personal hygiene and/or lose weight. 


2. Understand the Causes of Depression

On a chemical level, depression is caused by the inadequate production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Inadequate neurotransmitter production isn’t just a neurological quirk. These chemical realities are shaped by lifestyle, behavioral patterns, and other factors. 

For seniors who develop depression in their later years, the mood disorder is often triggered by major life changes, ranging from the deaths of loved ones to moving out of their homes. It can also be caused by financial anxiety, feelings of purposelessness, loneliness, and health problems. If you suspect your loved one has depression, try to identify the root cause of the issue.

Seniors’ anxiety and sadness can often be mitigated with the assistance and companionship of compassionate professional caregivers. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to assisted living facilities. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading home care service agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.


3. Learn the Connection between Depression & Other Medical Conditions

Depression has a complicated connection with other medical conditions. For example, seniors living with chronic arthritis pain may develop depression as a reaction to this pain. In such cases, depression and pain are connected, but the arthritis merely creates a reality in which depression is more likely to develop. 

Other disorders can directly impact brain chemistry and lead to the development of neurological health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. Certain medications can also increase the risk of depression, including some prescribed to treat blood pressure, high cholesterol, chronic pain, and gastrointestinal disorders. 

If your loved one undergoes a sudden mood shift, look at the lists of side effects on his or her current prescriptions. Your loved one may be having a reaction to a mood-altering medication.

If your loved one’s depression is due to a health condition such as dementia, help is just a phone call away. Aging in place can present a few challenges for seniors living with dementia. However, they can still live independently at home with the help of professional dementia care. Pearland families can rely on Assisting Hands Home Care to provide their elderly loved ones with mental and social stimulation, timely medication reminders, assistance with meal prep, and much more. Our caregivers are available around the clock to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life.


4. Increase Engagement

If your loved one’s depression isn’t the result of a prescription or another illness, encourage him or her to seek out new ways to engage with the world. Being disconnected only worsens depression. 

Your loved one can try new hobbies, join a club, or volunteer. You can support your loved one by providing transportation to social events and searching for new ways to keep him or her socially and mentally stimulated. 


5. Focus on Other Types of Health

Physical health and mental health are intrinsically linked. Seniors battling depression may discover when they focus on their physical health by exercising and eating healthy, their mood increases. Regular exercise helps the brain produce mood-stabilizing neurotransmitters, and a healthy diet gives the body the nutrition it needs to support emotional wellbeing. 


6. Seek Outside Help

If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, seniors should seek help from trained professionals. Psychiatrists can prescribe medication and therapeutic treatment plans. Seniors with depression may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, religious counseling, and support groups. 

Mental health issues such as depression can have a significant impact on an older adult’s overall wellbeing, so they shouldn’t be dismissed or ignored. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Pearland families can trust. Our caregivers help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and we offer mentally stimulating activities that can boost cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. Call us today to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.