Elderly depression can be a difficult subject, but it absolutely does need to be addressed. A loved one suffering from this ailment will only get worse with time and without outside intervention. To help them combat their symptoms and continue to live a fulfilling life, use these seven tips.
1) Make sure they’re socializing
This is one of the most important things you can do to help anyone combat depression. This includes inviting your loved one out for activities and making sure they’re still seeing other friends and family members.
2) Help them eat healthy and stay active
It’s common for your elderly loved ones to struggle with meals and general fitness, which in turn can worsen their mental well-being. Cooking and exercise are good social activities, too.
3) Encourage them to obtain professional treatment
Depression is an illness like any other, and should be treated professionally if at all possible. If your loved one resists the idea that they’re depressed or needing therapy, don’t insist on using that terminology—help them find their way to the idea through their own words.
4) Explore retirement communities
One of the best ways to assist an aging loved one with depression may be to help them find an appropriate retirement community. A good community will help them stay active, healthy, and social, along with providing any necessary professional attention.
5) Talk about their feelings
Sometimes all it takes is a good, honest discussion of feelings. This is especially true if you know your loved one will resist the idea that they’re depressed—let them explore their own thoughts and feelings on the matter, in their own terms.
6) Know the signs
Not all signs of elderly depression resemble sadness or grief. As with any form of depression, it can manifest as a lack of energy, increased frustration, withdrawal from normal habits, or an inability to enjoy previously pleasurable activities.
7) Help in moderation
It can be difficult to resist the urge to take care of everything for your loved one, but this can compound the problem. By taking over all aspects of your elderly loved one's life, you can reinforce negative thoughts they may have, such as being a burden, or otherwise incapable of continuing a fulfilling life. Give them the nudges they need to keep going, without taking over completely.