Better Healthcare Services / News
Depression is an incredibly difficult subject to broach with a loved one – especially if the person involved is unwilling to talk about it. Thankfully, there has never been a better time for the recognition and support of those living with depression.
While younger generations are being encouraged to speak about their mental health problems, older generations can still be more likely to belittle their problems or don’t want to acknowledge that there even is a problem. If you suspect that your elderly loved one is suffering in silence, you shouldn’t feel powerless because you really can help.
At Better Healthcare, our team of nurses and carers work with elderly people who are living with depression on an everyday basis. Hence, we’ve put together this guide to help you understand your loved one’s mental health, identify if they are living with depression, and to offer tips that can help you to brighten their mood.
When we talk about depression, it’s important to set it apart from sadness. When something unwelcome, bad or traumatic happens – such as the loss of a job, personal failure or the loss of a loved one – it’s completely natural for someone to feel sad. However, when that sadness lingers for a long time and affects the way that a person lives their life on a daily basis – such as how they act, what they do, how they feel and the way they think – then this could indicate depression.
For older people, depression could be recognised as a loss of energy and/or interest in hobbies, unexplained aches and pains, memory problems, being irritable, not caring about their hygiene, not eating and shying away from socialising with others or even setting foot outside.
It can be easy to assume that depression goes hand-in-hand with ageing – but this isn’t necessarily true. In fact, it can be the circumstances surrounding ageing – rather than a medical reason – that can bring about depression.
Here are some of the factors that can trigger depression:
While there may be a number of reasons behind why your loved one is suffering from depression, it’s important to examine some of these reasons in a bit more depth.
As aforementioned, grief can be an extremely powerful response to losing an important figure in our lives. For older people, that loss can be further compounded by thoughts on their own mortality and the world that they once knew changing around them. However, grief can still allow for good days and moments – such as being able to laugh at a joke or visit friends. Depression, however, rarely allows these things to happen.
Seasonal depression can also affect the elderly, just as it does with anyone, but this can be compounded by holiday periods reminding them of their memories and life. As elderly people are at risk of being socially isolated, this can lead them to think back to their so-called ‘glory days’. While remembering good times doesn’t need to be a bad thing, it can make a socially isolated person’s current day life look poor in comparison – leading to depression.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that dementia can sometimes appear like depression. Poor concentration, memory problems and sluggish actions can both be present in elderly people with depression and dementia. However, constant short-term memory issues could indicate dementia, whereas a person’s ability to hold a conversation (or even recognise their memory problems) would make depression a more likely cause.
Here are ways to support your loved one through their possible depression:
A leading healthcare provider in England, we can provide carers who regularly check on your loved one and make sure they have everything they need. We can also provide dedicated round-the-clock carers who can ensure that your loved one is safe in their own home.
Get in touch with our home care service team or live-in care service team to find out more by calling 0800 668 1234 today. Alternatively, you can contact one of our local offices.