How To Recognize and Treat Depression In Elders

The mental illness known as depression is not necessarily an uncommon health issue, yet it often goes undiagnosed in many people each and every year. This is due to many reasons, from social stigma to plain old ignorance on the matter. However, one of the more common reasons why depression is so misunderstood is that, because it is a mental health issue, there are very few physical symptoms that tend to manifest as a way to signal that something is wrong.

As it turns out, there are a few physical symptoms such as loss of appetite, dizziness, and tremors, yet these don’t often seem to have any sort of connection to depression and so they are overlooked. What makes the confusion even worse is that many people experience completely different symptoms from each other, even though they are all experiencing the exact same disease.

Elderly people in particular are especially prone to developing depression in their later years, yet many people simply don’t know how to recognize it. That is why I was so glad to come across a helpful article by Aging Care that offers up some truly excellent advice on recognizing as well as treating the symptoms of depression in the elderly. Keep on reading further to learn what you should be on the lookout for, and how to be prepared. 

First of all, there are some major life events that tend to happen during old age that are often unsurprisingly the catalysts for setting off depression in the elderly. The death of a spouse is one of the most common causes of depression in the elderly, so if your elder parent has recently dealt with this type of severe loss, be sure to notice if there are any long-term changes to their diet or sleeping patterns. If they experience significant weight loss or gain, or they sleep far more or less often than they used to, you may want to consider getting them checked out by a mental health specialist. 

Retirement can also bring about depression, even in a mild form. The loss of a sense of purpose tends to have a negative impact on elderly people, which is why it is best to keep them active regularly. Many healthcare experts encourage elderly patients to get a pet to take care of in order to restore a sense of purpose and meaning into their lives once more. A dog is ideal, but even a smaller pet such as a hamster or fish can help out as well.

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