Signs of depression in the elderly
As one ages, feeling nostalgic while going through old photos and feeling depressed is quite common. However, this does not make clinical depression normal; it is a serious medical condition. Often confused with ordinary sadness, biological evidence of the illness can be seen in brain scans that show abnormal activity.
Many older people falsely believe they would lose their independence if they admit to being depressed. This is rarely the case; it’s common knowledge that you are likely to be supported in your own home, and if necessary with help from home care services. If left untreated depression can have serious consequences. For example, relationship problems, internalized health concerns, and can even end in suicide.
Psychological studies, behavioral patterns, big life changes, and habits can clearly indicate if a person is suffering from depression. Following are the major signs to look out for and get immediate medical treatment.
Signs of depression
More often than not, family and friends regard the normal depression symptoms to be a part of old age, symptoms such as lack of enjoyment in normal activities, apprehension, and poor sleeping patterns. In any case it is important how to keep a keen eye.
Memory loss, Depression in old age is usually accompanied by forgetfulness and/or fixation on memories which should be a cause for concern. If the underlying depression is treated, memory will improve as well.
Behavioral changes, these can vary and may include.
– Avoiding leaving home, refusing to eat, shop lifting and alcohol abuse.
– Giving away personal possessions and talking about death
Denial, while the above mentioned and several other symptoms may be obvious to a loved one, denying it out right is a major cause for concern. It is also a sign that the depression is being internalized which has a high chance to cause further medical complications.
Causes of depression
The most common type of depression in old age is non-melancholic depression. It’s a type of depression when the feelings of sadness aren’t expressed by the patient. While depression and sadness might seem to go hand in hand, many depressed seniors claim not to feel sad at all. Such behavior can be due to psychological factors, personality characteristics and stressfull life events.
Factors such as early life depression due to a traumatic life event or genetic factors as well can play a contributory role in depressive illness. One can only hope to spot the signs early enough to get treatment in time.
While depression and sadness might seem to go hand and hand, many depressed seniors claim not to feel sad at all. They may complain, instead, of low motivation, a lack of energy, or physical problems. In fact, physical complaints, such as arthritis pain or worsening headaches, are often the predominant symptom of depression in the elderly. As depression leads to a multitude of other problems as well it is important keep your elders emotionally healthy. This can be achieved by making them a regular part of your lives and not just those half-yearly visits.
The nurses at Partners in Healthcare are available to talk with you about your in-home senior care needs including how to stay healthy at home with RN managed affordable care. We are a private duty home care agency that provides elder home care serves in the Orlando area. Call us at 407-788-9393.