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Spotting the Common Signs of Depression in Seniors

Florida First on April 11, 2018

Depression is something that people of all ages go through. Young kids, teenagers, middle-aged people, and older adults can all experience it. If you have an older loved one, it’s good for you to know the common signs of depression. Knowing a little more about it can help you know how to help your loved one if they do start to deal with feelings of depression.

Definition of Depression

Depression, also called major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder. When people are depressed, the way they feel about things changes. They lose their interest in activities that used to be entertaining. This disorder can cause people to feel extremely sad. They might also begin to lose their ability to function normally. They may struggle to do tasks at work, home, or school. Sadness or lack of energy is common; everyone feels these symptoms from time to time. But, when a person is depressed, he or she will feel this way for several weeks, months, or even years. Depression is serious and has an impacts a person’s overall health.

What Are the Symptoms and Signs of Depression?

Major depressive disorder is different for everyone. The signs of depression may vary from person to person. For some people, the symptoms can be very mild. But, for others, the signs of depression are more extreme. However, all symptoms are serious and they can include:

  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Restlessness
  • Pessimism
  • Shifts in appetite
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of energy
  • Physical pain (headaches, cramps, muscle pains etc.)
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Unintended weight gain or loss
  • Sleep problems (insomnia, oversleeping, etc.)
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Indecisiveness

Again, people who suffer from depression will experience varying symptoms. If your older loved one is going through depression, it’s important to watch closely for any of these signs. Older adults who struggle with this disorder may also neglect to care for themselves properly. They may not eat as much as they should. Or, they may forget to take their medication. Sometimes, seniors who have depression will have trouble keeping up with their hygiene.

What Causes Depression in Older Adults?

Unfortunately, as people grow older, they might feel less needed. They may lose their sense of purpose. They no longer have children to raise or a job to report to. Many older adults live by themselves. So, they might feel lonely. Depression tends to set in during times like that.

If a person has just lost a special friend or loved one, grief can lead to depression. Everyone goes through the grieving process after losing someone. But, if that process begins to produce the signs of depression, it becomes more of an issue.

Older adults may be living with degenerative or chronic illnesses. The constant pain, discomfort can cause them to feel depressed about their condition. If people have diseases and illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, or diabetes, they might show signs of depression. And, sometimes, prescription drugs can have side effects that cause depression.

How You Can Help

First, make sure your older loved one knows that he or she is loved. Try to talk to them as much as you can to maintain a connection. Help them to feel involved in their family and engaged in life. If you can’t stay with your loved one or sit with them for a while everyday, consider getting a companion for seniors.

Not sure how to do that? No problem! Florida First Senior Home Care is a caregiver referral service. We work to pair families with amazing caregivers. Our mission is to get seniors the best care possible. If you think we can help your loved one, contact us today!