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Depression is a serious medical illness that can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, or circumstance. However, it is more common for older people to suffer from depression. Losing a loved one, not keeping in touch with friends and colleagues, and accumulating health problems can lead to deep sadness and hopelessness.  

Moving your loved ones into assisted living in Lombard can help them overcome depression. Seniors can maintain a healthy emotional and physical balance in assisted living communities by taking part in planned activities and socializing with other seniors their age.

the elderly having tea at an Assisted Living in Lombard

Understanding Depression in Older Adults

Depression can range from mild to severe. It can also be short-term or long-lasting. The important thing is to identify signs of depression to get help immediately. Without treatment, the problem will only worsen, increasing their chances of developing other health conditions, possibly leading to self-harm.  

What Are the Common Signs of Depression?

People with depression can experience immense sadness that can last for weeks. They may also experience the following:  

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, and guilt
  • Restless
  • Irritable
  • Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities  
  • Decreased energy
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Early-morning wakefulness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Overeating
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches that don’t get better


What Are the Causes of Depression in the Elderly?

 

Interestingly, the exact cause of depression among the older population is unknown. But experts have found reasons to believe that it could be a combination of different factors. Knowing the symptoms of depression is just as critical as knowing what factors can lead them to experience it. The following are potential factors that can contribute to senior depression:

  1. Isolation  

According to Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, humans are social creatures. We thrive best when we are around other people. Several factors contribute to loneliness and social isolation among older adults, such as living alone, the loss of family and friends, chronic illnesses, and hearing loss. Lack of interpersonal connections causes social isolation.  

Being alone can make the aging population vulnerable to social isolation, triggering depression that will consequently affect their health and overall well-being. Research shows that people who are lonely and socially isolated have a higher risk of developing health problems such as cognitive decline, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression.  

  1. Medical Problems

The elderly can also become depressed after struggling with an illness or a medical procedure. For example, when they have a stroke or cancer or if they suffer from chronic pain. These conditions can cause them to feel helpless or perhaps have a surgical operation that restricts their ability to stay active.  

  1. Stressful or Traumatic Events

Major traumatic events can happen unexpectedly. Examples of stressful situations that can lead to depression are a death of a loved one, becoming a victim of abuse, and financial problems.  

  1. Using Drugs and Alcohol

Some medications can alter a person’s mental state and behavior. We suggest you talk to your parent’s primary healthcare provider about the medications affecting your loved ones’ behavior. Alcohol consumption can also have the same effect.  

elderly woman in therapy at Assisted Living in Lombard

What Can You Do to Help Seniors With Depression?

If you are worried about a loved one who you suspect might be depressed, you can help and show your support in the following ways:

  1. Communicate

 

Communication is one of the best ways to understand where the sadness and loneliness are coming from. Find time to talk one-on-one with your loved one, no matter how busy you are. Sometimes all it takes to make them feel better is to offer your time and attention and listen to them as they vent their frustrations and feelings.  

 

  1. Accompany Them To See a Doctor

 

Even though all the signs and symptoms of depression are present, you still need to take them to a doctor to get an accurate diagnosis. To successfully treat depression, the doctor has to know what type of disorder it is. It could be major depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), bipolar disorder, chronic depression, or another type of clinical depression.  

 

Your parents may feel intimidated or embarrassed to go. Instead of nagging them, we suggest you go with them to the doctor so they won’t feel anxious and alone. Remember, depression doesn’t resolve on its own unless it is treated. So, you must reach out to a medical professional when you start noticing symptoms.  

 

  1. Find a Reliable Assisted Living Community for Them

 

Family members want to know what’s in it for them if they move their reluctant seniors to assisted living communities. Convincing them to leave their homes can be challenging, but it will be worth it once you realize that these communities can significantly help them, especially with their depression.  

 

  1. Check-In on Them Frequently

 

Moving a loved one to an assisted living community may help them in many ways, but you must understand that it is still considered a major change. Being in an unfamiliar community will require certain adjustments. Frequent phone calls and visits to check in on them can help make them feel secure and loved.  Questions like, “How was your day?” or “What did you do today?” can make a huge difference.    

What Are the Benefits of Assisted Living for Seniors?

Assisted living offers opportunities for seniors to gather with other residents and engage in relevant activities and programs to keep them socially active. They get to share healthy meals with people their age that can help boost their mood. Although their food cannot in any way treat depression, the camaraderie and the satisfying and tasty meals can make residents happy.  

Besides getting good nutrition, these communities also offer exciting programs and events that keep seniors’ schedules exciting. They’ll always have something to look forward to. Some programs may include unlocking a new skill, discovering a fun hobby, and spending time outdoors.  

caregiver and elderly outside an Assisted Living in Lombard

Looking for an Assisted Living in Lombard Community for Your Loved Ones?

Taking action early can prevent the worsening of depression symptoms. Besides taking your loved ones to a medical doctor, we also recommend considering assisted living. The sooner you get help for your parents, the better they’ll feel.  

At Senior Living Experts, we will work closely with you and your family to find the perfect community for your loved ones. Get in touch with us to learn more.  

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