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Depression in the Elderly: Causes Symptoms, Treatment

September 16, 2015

Elderly Care in Watsonville CA

Depression in the elderly, also known as Geriatric Depression, is a condition that affects over 6 million adults over the age of 65 each year. Everyone has bad days every once in a while, but being Elderly-Care-Watsonville-CAin a constant state of sadness is not a normal part of aging. Seniors with Geriatric Depression may be feeling "blue" because of a change in their health, having to be dependent on a caregiver to help with their everyday tasks, or feeling isolated. To identify if the senior you are providing elderly care for is depressed, here is a little background information on this condition and how it can be treated.CausesThere is not just one cause to this illness, but there could be a variety of factors that are contributing to your loved one being depressed. Research has been conducted to find out what biological, social, and psychological factors play a role in depression. What they found were the following causes to depression in the elderly:
  • A family history of depression
  • Traumatic events have taken their toll on the senior's life, such as the death of a loved one
  • Neurotransmitter chemicals to the brain are at low levels
Of course, seniors receiving in-home care may also be feeling sad due to a number of personal reasons, such as:
  • Death of loved ones
  • Isolated
  • Difficulty transitioning from working to retirement
  • Lack of mobility
  • Disability
  • Financial hardships
SymptomsYour loved one may be depressed if any of the following symptoms are present:
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Sadness
  • Changes in their appetite
  • Bouts of crying
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Withdrawn from social activities or favorite hobbies
  • Lack of interest
  • Feeling worthless
  • Irritable
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Thoughts of suicide
Suicide is a real concern among seniors who are feeling depressed, which accounted for 16 percent of all suicides in 2004. If you are concerned these thoughts are running through your loved one's head, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255.TreatmentOne treatment will not work with every person, so keep in mind that it may take time to find the right medication or lifestyle change to help relieve the elder from the debilitating symptoms associated with Geriatric Depression. It often takes a combination of medication, therapy, and modifications to their lifestyle. While different medical treatments should be discussed with the elder's doctor, there are several adjustments they can make to lessen their depressed feelings, including:
  • Including more exercise into their daily activities
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Getting plenty of rest at night
  • Have friends and family members frequently visit
  • Find a fun, new hobby for the elder to participate in
If you are providing senior care for a loved one and notice any of the previous symptoms, find out what the main cause behind their feelings are and help them make the changes they need to do rid themselves of this illness. If you or an aging loved one are looking for elderly care services in Watsonville, CA, please call Familiar Surroundings Home Care. Call today! Santa Clara County: (408) 600-2760 San Mateo County: (650) 458-0140 Santa Cruz County: (831) 325-0890 Bottom of Form Source AARP. "Geriatric Depression (Depression in the Elderly)."

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