Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Seniors

Senior woman appears sad as she looks out the window
Depression in seniors is a medical condition that must be treated by a physician.

Most people go through periods of time when they just want to be isolated for a bit with their thoughts, to sort out circumstances in their lives free from distractions, or simply to experience some downtime. For seniors, however, being isolated for too long might be indicative of a more serious condition: depression.

At Heaven at Home Senior Care, our caregivers understand depression in seniors, and would like to offer help. The most important first step is to contact the older adult’s doctor as soon as possible if you believe he or she is struggling with depression. Depression can be treated, and the sooner treated, the better.

Keep an eye out for these signs of senior depression in your loved ones:

  • Loss: A wide range of forms of loss can trigger depression or other medical problems: losing weight, losing the desire to eat, a loss of self-worth, disinterest in activities or hobbies that were previously enjoyed, or a loss in time spent with family or friends.
  • Slowing Down: Observe if the older adult’s movements or speaking have slowed down, if it takes the senior longer than before to talk about or recall memories, or if motivation or energy are lessened.
  • Sleeping Changes: Depression can have major effects on sleep patterns, including trouble with falling or staying asleep, trouble awakening, or trouble staying alert and awake during the day.
  • Forgetfulness: Look for changes in how the older person takes care of herself; for instance, if she has always been careful about maintaining good personal hygiene and taking care with her appearance, but abruptly starts to neglect personal care, or any other vital changes like forgetting to take medicine, to eat a healthy diet, etc.

Various other medical conditions may also make depression worse. Be especially mindful if the older adult has been impacted by any of the following:

  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • MS
  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease
  • Thyroid conditions

If you suspect senior depression in someone you love, it’s vitally important to take action and not to shrug it off as something the senior will get over on his or her own. Depression is a chronic medical condition that requires treatment in order to recover.

And remember, you are not alone! The knowledgeable caregivers at Heaven at Home Senior Care are here to help aging adults through senior depression or any other condition of aging. We’re experienced in providing caring, compassionate in-home services for older adults, offering friendly companionship to help encourage participation in exercise programs and social activities, to prepare healthy and nutritious meals, provide transportation to medical appointments and to run errands, and much more.

Reach out to us any time at 972-245-1515 to learn about our senior care in University Park and the surrounding communities.