Depression Isn’t An Inevitable Part Of Aging And You Can Stave Off Its Effects On You And Your Loved One
Are you noticing a decreased ability to enjoy life? Are you looking for ways to stave off depression for you or your loved one? Pegasus home care professionals in Studio City and elsewhere offer facts and tips to help you.
You are not alone. Millions of American adults currently have persistent and intense feelings of sadness. Sadness that doesn’t go away is depression, which is medically recognized as a chemical imbalance.
Symptoms Of Depression
Everyone experiences sadness for a variety of reasons. Sadness, even deep sadness, differs from depression because it is short-lived. Symptoms of depression include, but are not limited to:
- Changes in appetite, leading to weight gain or loss
- Crying spells
- Inability to concentrate, think, or make a decision
- Insomnia or desire to sleep all the time
- Loss of interest in activities that were previously a source of pleasure
- Thoughts of feeling worthless or guilt-ridden
- Thoughts of harming yourself or considering suicide
- Unrelenting feelings of sadness
- Unusual fatigue or loss of energy
Experiencing five or more of these or similar symptoms once a day for more than two weeks is depression.
Depression Can Affect Anyone
Depression is not a normal part of aging. It can occur in individuals of any age, gender, or race. Adversity happens to everyone, and it can throw even the strongest individuals into a depression.
However, certain life situations can increase a senior’s susceptibility to depression. That includes adverse circumstances such as:
- Death of spouse, friend, or relatives
- Facing their own mortality
- Financial difficulties
- Limited mobility
- Loss of good health
- Years of substance abuse
It’s not always easy to determine if your senior loved one is depressed. They may not answer questions truthfully because they are ashamed of their “character flaw.” They may blame themselves or think treatment would cost too much.
Your loved one might fear the stigma of having a mental illness. Many withhold information as part of being independent. They prefer to solve their troubles on their own.
Your senior may be having memory difficulties or experiencing confusion. It’s easy to conclude that the cause is Alzheimer’s disease or other medical condition. Because cognitive impairment is also a symptom of depression in the elderly, it’s essential to consult a physician for diagnosis.
Depression Can Be Treated
Depression is not something that you or your loved one just has to “live with.” It is a treatable condition with a variety of medications and therapies. Left untreated, it is the source of physical ailments and potential suicide.
As a caregiver, you may be witnessing the mental or physical decline of your loved one. Caregiving may have been added to everything else you need to do, leaving you exhausted and chronically stressed.
That takes a toll on your ability to cope regardless of your age. It can be a significant cause of caregiver depression.
Your depression is not a sign of weakness, nor is it a cause for guilt. You must be kind to yourself. Whatever it takes, carve out some personal time to do something you enjoy.
Don’t hesitate to ask friends or family for help. Find caregiver support groups. Look to Pegasus home care services for respite care to give you a break.
Recommendations To Help Prevent Depression
Although depression can’t always be prevented, there are steps you can take to slow the onset and progression of it. Exercise is beneficial for both you and your loved one. Even a moderate amount of physical activity, such as a daily walk around the block, is helpful.
Try to incorporate socializing with others into your routine. COVID-19 has made that difficult, but not impossible. Depending on your loved one’s health, phone calls or letters may be all that you can do, but every little bit helps.
Find something to do that isn’t related to caregiving. You and your loved one both need relief from stress. Try something like an indoor herb garden, learning a new recipe, or telling knock-knock jokes.
The guidelines for good health are even more essential for staving off depression in you or your loved one. You both should get enough sleep, eat nutritious meals, and avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Additional preventive measures include:
- Adequately treating other medical conditions
- Avoiding spending time with individuals who drag you down
- If you’re receiving treatment for depression, stick to your treatment plan
- Monitoring the time you spend on social media
- Practicing stress reduction
- Simplifying your life so that you aren’t overwhelmed with excessive choices
- Stopping smoking
- Talking to your doctor about changing medications if the side effects of any you are taking include depression
- Understanding and planning for events or occasions that serve to “trigger” your depression
Implement as many of the recommendations for your loved one as are appropriate.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. We provide comprehensive home care services in Studio City and our other locations. Our team is dedicated to improving the quality of life for you and your loved one.