Know the Signs of Depression and how Home Care can help
Clinical depression in older people is common. That doesn’t mean it’s normal. Late-life depression affects about 6 million Americans ages 65 and older. But only 10% get treatment. The likely reason is that older people often display symptoms of depression differently. Depression in older people is also frequently confused with the effects of multiple illnesses and the medicines used to treat them.
How Does Depression in Older People Differ From Depression in Younger Adults?
Depression affects older people differently than younger people. In older people, depression often goes along with other medical illnesses and disabilities and lasts longer.
Depression in older adults is tied to a higher risk of cardiac diseases and of death from illness. At the same time, depression reduces an older person’s ability to rehabilitate. Studies of nursing home patients with physical illnesses have shown that the presence of depression substantially increases the likelihood of death from those illnesses. Depression also has been linked with increased risk of death after a heart attack. For that reason, it’s important to make sure that an older adult you are concerned about is evaluated and treated, even if the depression is mild.
Older people may not have the obvious symptoms of depression. Instead, they may:
- Feel tired, nap frequently
- Have trouble sleeping, as well as insomnia
- Be grumpy, irritable and have mood swings
- Feel confused and disoriented
- Struggle to focus in mental thought processes
- Not take interest in activities they once did
- Move more slowly
- Have a change in weight or appetite
- Experience feelings of guilt, hopelessness
- Have negative and possible suicidal thoughts
Your Primary Care Physician can help to identify and diagnose depression in your elderly loved one. Doctors are encouraged to routinely check for depression. This can happen during a visit for a chronic illness or at a wellness visit.
Alliance Home Care Can Help
Home Care and Specialized Home Care Services with Allianace Senior Care can provide regular care, support at home for your elderly loved one and family care givers. Having regular care for your elderly loved one means trained healthcare professionals will be checking in with your elderly loved one and coordinate with your family and other healthcare providers.
The Risks of Suicide in the Elderly
Depression also elevates the risk of suicide, especially in older white men. The suicide rate in people ages 80 to 84 is more than twice that of the general population. The National Institute of Mental Health considers depression in people 65 and older to be a major public health problem.
In addition, advancing age often comes along with the loss of social support systems due to the death of a spouse or siblings, retirement, or relocation. Because of changes in an older person’s circumstances and the fact that older people are expected to slow down, doctors and family may miss the signs of depression. As a result, effective treatment often gets delayed, forcing many older people to struggle unnecessarily with depression.
To learn more about how In-Home Care can help improve your loved ones’ quality of life, call Alliance Senior Care at 248-274-2170. It’s not just In-Home Care, it is Integrated Care.
Home Care Services are an excellent resource for family caregivers and seniors alike.
Alliance Senior Care Home Care services offer a wide range of services providing healthcare, daily living assistance, transportation to and from Doctor’s appointments and tailored care services for additional circumstances.