If you currently have a loved one struggling with depression, you know how difficult it can be and how helpless it can make you feel. Senior citizens are at greater risk of experiencing the effects of depression, but those whose families best understand how to approach the condition are more likely overcome it.
Know the symptoms
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 7 million American seniors age 65 or older suffer from depression symptoms each year. If you notice overwhelming sadness, talk of death, loss of memory, or if your loved one talks of hopelessness of emptiness, it is a warning sign. There are also physical symptoms associated with depression like fluctuations in weight, weakness in the immune system resulting in more illness, and a greater risk for serious heart conditions like high blood pressure. If you notice any of these things, or any other behaviors that are unusual, be sure to talk to your loved one about seeing a medical professional.
It can be embarrassing for loved ones to talk about their feelings. This is especially true if they have become secluded from the rest of the world. They are more likely to open up to family, though, so it is very important to be asking them questions about how they feel. Asking questions shows them that you care about their situation, and that you are trying to understand what they are going through. Once you know the cause of their depression, you can begin the work of finding them the help they need to recover. Questions such as “How long have you been feeling this way?”, or, “What would need to happen for you to feel better?”, or, “What is it that makes you feel bad?” are great ways to begin a conversation with your loved ones.
Always be sure to let your loved ones know that you are there for them no matter what. Knowing that they have someone by their side oftentimes is the first step toward recovery from depression. Let them know that depression is not permanent, and that their situation will change. Many residents at Primrose came to us in a state of depression, having lost friends and family members. Many of them found that being surrounded by their peers – others who have experienced the same things they have experienced – was therapeutic in their recovery. If you have questions about senior living, Primrose would be honored to assist you. Just go to www.primroseretirement.com for additional information.