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Depression In Seniors

Depression is common amongst aging parents.  As parents begin to age, they also begin to recognize the realities of their mortality through physical and mental limitations. Signs of depression should never be taken lightly-there are a number of important issues in regards to depression amongst the elderly. Please make sure to address these issues with those around you, all care takers, and your parents. Depression is not something that is easily spoken of but imperative that it be for the health and safety of your parents.

  1. Know the warning signs of depression.  Take the time to be aware of the warning
    signs of depression.  Everyone goes through a feeling of “down in the dumps” as they age.  However, if this is temporary, you should be able to regain some emotional balance. Those with clinical depression will not be able to bounce back. Knowing when depression has become this grave of an issue is difficult in the aging since the variables are more widespread. However, the warning signs are all the same, and become more worrisome the longer they stay.  Some signs include, lack of sleep, crying, not eating, being irritable, no desire to involve themselves in daily activities, and discussion or attempt of suicide.
  2. Be aware of violence.  Depression in aging can cause your parents to lash out, and if dementia has set in, them being upset may turn into violence.  Learn supportive ways to work with your parents if this becomes a problem. Do not fight back, yet learn to manage such situations with relative calmness and understanding of their situation.
  3. Medicine is a beneficial treatment.  Those aging with depression seem to respond
    well to depression medicines.  There are many excellent medications that can help with mood and daily activities.  Most doctors will start with the most conservative dose of antidepressants and go from there in coordination with your parents’ needs.  It is wise to have them involved in therapy alongside their medication, so they have someone to talk to.
  4. Research Respite Care in your area.  Respite Care consists of adult services that
    gives you, the caretaker, some time away, but also enables your parents to have
    time to work on themselves and to better their health as they age.  There are many respite care services that focus on depression issues and work with the aging on this matter.

Remember, depression as your parents age can become more prevalent, and prevalent is the key word. Aging isn’t always fun, and many feel down when they begin to be limited
in their daily physical and mental activities. However, this doesn’t always mean clinical depression.  Either way, it is important that your parents receive the care they need either temporarily while they are having sad thoughts or long term if the issue of depression seems more permanent.

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