Seniors are not immune to spells of depression, especially around the holidays when thoughts of the dearly departed, the past or physical limitations may cause them to be down. This seasonal depression isn’t something that should be ignored or dismissed — seniors should not have to suffer in silence. Below are some of the signs and causes of depression, along with a few strategies for treating it.
Signs of Depression
If a senior is oversleeping, suffering from unusual sluggishness or fatigue, and has a lack of interest in hobbies, then he or she might be depressed. If this behavior is followed by suicidal thoughts or suggestions, there is an obvious problem that needs to be addressed. Other signs of depression include combativeness, feelings of hopelessness and withdrawal from social interactions. If seniors or their family members become aware of this behavior, then it’s time to get some help.
Root Causes of Depression
The root causes of the seasonal depression range from a physical reaction to the changes in the season to negative feelings and loneliness. Seniors that spend most of their time alone tend to be susceptible to various types of depression, and dementia only adds another layer of complexity to the situation. If the root causes of depression in seniors are identified, family members or assisted living specialists can help to remedy the situation by removing or limiting them. Seniors can also actively work to identify things that make them feel down and remedy the situation the best they can.
What to Do
There are a variety of activities that seniors can undertake to try and combat depression. This includes exercising, therapy, counseling and (if recommended by their doctor) anti-depressant medication. Seniors who are battling depression need to change their focus and their mood, no matter how difficult it may seem. Family members can be an instrumental part of this process, helping to transform the environment seniors find themselves in. If seniors are living in an assisted living facility, staff members can also step in and help. Not taking action isn’t going to help the situation or make seniors find a high-quality of life. Everyone involved with a senior suffering from depression has a responsibility to act.
When seniors are suffering from seasonal depression, these are signs and symptoms that family members and friends can be on the lookout for. No one needs to suffer from depression in silence. For additional information about senior health, mental health, mental illness and seasonal depression, please contact us.