Tips for Helping an Elderly Person with Depression

Tips for Helping an Elderly Person with Depression

February 12, 2013 - 10:00 am

Depression affects not only the depressed person; it can cause a ripple effect of stress and anxiety for the person’s caregivers or throughout the family if not treated. But there is hope even when things seem dark! The following five steps can help to break the depression cycle and foster a more healthy life for an elderly depressed person.

  1. Talk to a professional. Identifying depression and treating it appropriately is sometimes the key to breaking the depression cycle, and a necessary first step.
  2. Encourage follow-through with treatment. Depression usually reoccurs when treatment is stopped too soon. If the prescribed treatment isn’t helping, look into other medications and therapies, or even other professionals.
  3. Get outside and stay active. Depression is less likely when a person’s body and mind remain active. Suggest activities the person used to enjoy: walks, an art class, a trip to the museum or the movies—anything that provides mental or physical stimulation.
  4. Schedule regular social activities. Group outings, visits from friends and family members or trips to the local senior or community center can help combat isolation and loneliness. Be gently insistent if the suggested plans are refused: depressed people often feel better when they’re around others, but they may need some encouragement to get there.
  5. Ensure all medications are taken as instructed. There are many types of medical reminder devices, including electronic devices that actually beep if medications are missed. Remind the person to obey doctor’s orders about the use of alcohol while on medication. Help the person remember when to take prescribed doses, or assist in getting a device in place that works.

Depression can be a difficult disorder to help someone overcome, but you don’t have to go it alone. If you are caring for an elderly loved one who is suffering from depression, contact the care experts at Partners in HealthCare in Orlando, FL. We can help break the depression cycle with personalized care and companionship at home.

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