Older adults are at a very high risk of depression. This is often overlooked by therapists, even though the suicide rate among the elderly is amongst the highest in the country. Many seniors fail to seek help regarding this condition. They fear that they will become a burden on their family. Furthermore, some seniors refuse treatment because they deny the fact that they have a mental disorder. This is usually because of the stigma that depression carries. Also, most of them are unaware of what counseling is and thus refuse it and live without professional advice.
Both the elderly and their loved ones need to know that depression is not a condition that follows old age. As such, upon noticing its symptoms, seniors should ask for help and deal with the first signs before it grows into something more serious. Depression has no prejudice, and it comes equally to both young, middle aged, and old people.
But what are you supposed to do when your loved one isn’t asking for treatment and is not interested in it?
These days, a lot more is known about this condition than years ago. But many don’t remember the entire story, and there are a ton of stereotypes surrounding depression. These stereotypes surround most mental disorders that we encounter. To take good care of your loved one and show them support and love during their depression, you don’t need to be an expert on the subject. All you need to do is to get familiar with the condition and make sure that you are sensitive to the feelings of your loved one. They can often be hurt solely by the language you use.
It is also essential to talk with your loved one as much as you can and get to know how they feel, as depression differs from one patient to another.
Recognize Early Symptoms
It is not always easy to recognize depression. If you are familiar with the indicators and symptoms, however, you will be able to get a grasp on it. Most people associate this condition with feelings of sadness or despair. But many people, the elderly included, have reported that during their depression, they didn’t feel sad one bit. Because of this, you should look out for other symptoms, some of which we are going to list below:
- Lack of interest in activities and things that seniors enjoyed earlier
- Absence of motivation
- Sleeping issues such as difficulty falling asleep, oversleeping, or other abnormal behaviors
- Appearance of worthlessness as a familiar feeling
- Memory issues
- Forgetting to take care of yourself
In addition to noticing the early signs of depression, if you are a caregiver for your loved one, you will need to look out for signs that depression is worsening. You need to be aware of any and all changes in the life of your senior. Even the smallest episode in their life can trigger depression.
Encourage Loved Ones to Seek Help
The main issue with asking for help for patients with depression is that this condition lowers their ability and desire to ask for it. Many seniors that live today reached adulthood in environments that misunderstood mental illnesses. This is what makes persuading them to ask for help even harder. But it is essential to convince them that depression is a severe health condition. Furthermore, they need to know that it can be treated and that all they need to do is to ask for help. Family members are the first line of defense against this condition.
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