Depression affects people of all ages. People don’t often think of depression as being a serious issue in the elderly, but it is. It’s not a normal part of aging, but the CDC does estimate that up to five percent of all U.S. seniors suffer from depression. It’s important to recognize the signs and how to help your parent.
The Symptoms of Depression in the Elderly
The elderly often experience symptoms that can be indicators of other health issues. Physical pain is one way depression manifests. Your mom or dad may have stomach aches regularly for no reason. Tests find nothing wrong.
Another common symptom of depression involves sleep patterns. Your parent wakes in the middle of the night for no reason and struggles to get back to sleep. Or, it might be impossible for your parent to go to sleep at all. This can be signs of other things, too, which makes it hard to see it as being depression.
When your parent is depressed, pacing, fidgeting, and feelings of restlessness are common. Your parent’s mood may change from sadness to worthlessness and back again. Worrying constantly about health and finances, having a hard time focusing or concentrating, and an increase or decrease in weight are also common.
You’ll notice your parent starts to withdraw from people and activities. Your mom no longer wants to go see her best friend. Your dad no longer enjoys gardening as he did a month or two earlier. Those are also signs of depression.
Symptoms Can Mimic Other Things
Some of the symptoms of depression can mimic other conditions. Trouble concentrating, being fidgety, and having a hard time with focus are also signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Insomnia may come and go or be a sign of sleep apnea. A loss of appetite may be a sign of cancer. Weight gain or loss could be a sign of diabetes.
To make sure it’s not another health condition, it’s important to see a doctor and have it ruled out. If tests find nothing is wrong, discuss depression. If the doctor dismisses your concerns, ask for a second opinion. Your parents don’t have to deal with depression alone. Some therapies and medications help.
Elder care services may be helpful when your parent is dealing with depression. The caregiver can drive your mom or dad to appointments. Caregivers can help with a healthy diet, do the housework, and provide companionship to make sure your parent isn’t lonely. Call an elder care agency to discuss the range of services available in your area.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Lake Oswego, OR, please contact the caring staff at Integrity In-Home Care. Call today (503) 660-3755