Warning Signs of Senior Depression and How to Help

Sad lonely pensive old senior woman

Everyone goes through times when they just want to be left alone for a while with their thoughts, to work through concerns in their lives free from distractions, or just to have some downtime. For seniors, however, being isolated for too long might be indicative of a more serious condition: senior depression.

At Stay Home Care, our Nashville caregivers have shared the journey through senior depression with many older individuals, and would like to offer help. The most important first step is to get in touch with the senior’s doctor as soon as possible if you think he or she may be struggling with depression. Depression can be treated, and the sooner, the better.

Be on the lookout for these warning signs of senior depression in your loved ones:

  • Loss: A variety of types of loss can trigger depression or other medical concerns: losing weight, losing the desire to eat, a loss of self-worth, a loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were formerly enjoyed, or less time spent with friends or family.
  • Slowing Down: Observe if the older person’s movements or speech have slowed down, if it takes the person longer than usual to talk about or recall memories, or if drive or energy are lessened.
  • Sleeping Changes: Depression can have major effects on sleep patterns, including trouble with falling or remaining asleep, trouble waking up, or trouble remaining alert and awake throughout the day. 
  • Forgetfulness: Look for differences 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 suddenly begins to disregard personal care, or any other vital changes like forgetting to take medicine, to eat a healthy diet, etc.

Various other medical conditions tend to also make depression worse. Be particularly mindful if the older person has been affected 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 a loved one, it’s important to take action and not to disregard it as just something the senior will get over in time. Depression is a chronic medical condition that necessitates treatment in order to recover. 

And keep in mind, you’re not alone! Stay Home Care’s home care services can help loved ones through senior depression or any other health issues. As the leading caregiver in Nashville, TN and throughout the surrounding area, we offer senior companionship to help encourage participation in exercise programs and social activities, to prepare delicious, healthy meals, provide transportation to medical appointments and to run errands, and more. 

Contact us any time online or at 615-964-7726 for assistance, and check out our Service Area page to see what communities we serve.