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Depression and Older Adults: Causes & Solutions

By Lauren Robison, 8:00 am on

While depression is quite common in older adults, it is not a natural part of the aging process. During our years of providing home care in New Hampshire, we’ve seen how holistic care – care that promotes a senior’s physical and emotional needs – can enhance overall quality of life and want to make sure that families don’t overlook any warning signs of depression.

Because depression in seniors can stem from a variety of causes, determining the source of depression or mental health problems in your loved one can help your loved one’s doctor find the ideal treatment solution.

In many cases, depression in seniors stems from health problems related to aging. Your loved one may have trouble coping with difficulty doing activities that they used to enjoy, and body image issues as the natural aging process ensues. Loss of family members, friends, or pets can also contribute to depression, especially if it results in a diminished social circle. Sometimes, fear of death and dying can cause depression. Or, if your loved one has recently retired, depression can stem from a feeling of worthlessness because of a decreased sense of purpose.

If you care for an aging parent or relative, be aware of the signs of depression. Beyond sadness and mood swings, look out for weight loss, withdrawal from social activities that were previously enjoyed, sleep disturbances, drug and alcohol abuse, and other unusual changes in behavior. Speak with his or her doctor if you’re concerned; while depression can be daunting for older adults, it’s also treatable.

The first step to treating depression in older adults is to solve health issues that may be contributing. These can include vitamin deficiencies, pain, chronic conditions, and other issues. Self-care methods can also help older adults overcome depression; for example, eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and socializing with friends. And if you’re unable to be with your loved one on an around the clock basis to ensure these activities are being carried out, consider help from a professional New Hampshire caregiver. We’ve seen that many seniors thrive under the care and support of a compassionate individual who can provide assistance and companionship at home.

With the right support systems in place, your loved one’s depression can be successfully treated, allowing them to enjoy a higher quality of life. To learn more about companionship and hourly and live-in home care in New Hampshire, reach out to Home Care Assistance at 603-471-3004. We offer complimentary in-home consultations where you can learn more about our services and further get to know our Care Managers and care process. We look forward to hearing from you!