Depression in the Elderly: How you can help & how home caregivers can help you

If you are concerned about a loved one who may be depressed or you notice concerns and changes in behavior, review our blog post on signs and symptoms of senior depression or contact us to discuss your concerns.

How can you help?

• Lend an ear and offer support. Understand that the person may be reluctant to describe their problems as depression and may express complaints, anger and agitation rather than sadness.
• Help in obtaining a diagnosis and treatment. Encourage your loved one to express their symptoms to their doctor (or help them find a doctor or specialist when needed).
• Invite your loved one out. Depression is less likely when people’s bodies and minds remain active. Suggest activities to do together that your loved one used to enjoy: walks, an art class, a trip to the museum or the movies—anything that provides mental or physical stimulation.
• Schedule regular social activities. Group outings, visits from friends and family members, or trips to the local senior or community center can help combat isolation and loneliness. Be gently insistent if your plans are refused: depressed people often feel better when they’re around others.
• Plan and prepare healthy meals. A poor diet can make depression worse, so make sure your loved one is eating right, with plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and some protein at every meal.
• Encourage the person to follow through with treatment. Depression usually recurs when treatment is stopped too soon, so help your loved one keep up with his or her treatment plan. If it isn’t helping, look into other medications and therapies.
• Make sure all medications are taken as instructed. Remind the person to obey doctor’s orders about the use of alcohol while on medication. Help them remember when to take their dose.
• Watch for suicide warning signs. Seek immediate professional help if you suspect that your loved one is thinking about suicide.

EasyLiving can help

Our home caregivers can assist with many of the healthy activities that assist in wellbeing. Ways an EasyLiving home caregiver can help:

• Being a supportive listener and companion. Sometimes it can get overwhelming as a family member to be the sole companion, especially when supporting someone with depression. You likely have competing responsibilities and a professional caregiver can be an additional listening ear and shoulder to cry on for your loved one.
• Providing transportation to appointments, ensuring regular visits to the doctor and follow up treatments.
• Initiating and assisting with social activities. A home health companion can provide the physical assistance to enable someone to continue participating in favorite activities and can provide encouragement and even plan ways to stay engaged.
• Preparing healthy meals. Loss of appetite and other unhealthy eating habits often accompany depression, so an EasyLiving caregiver’s meal preparation services can be vital to maintaining good health and nutrition.
• Managing medications properly. Our home care aides trained in medication assistance can ensure your loved one is taking medications as directed and provide reminders.
• Overseeing safety. A home caregiver can be there to watch after your loved one and ensure their personal hygiene and safety around the home. EasyLiving caregivers serve as a point of contact and communicate concerns that may arise, so you can feel comfortable that your loved one has a safety net.

Contact us today for a FREE consultation for your home caregiver and home health needs and ways we can assist you and your elderly loved one in overcoming depression.

We offer gift certificates so that you can provide your loved one with the gift of home care services in Pinellas County. Home caregiver gift certificates are redeemable for EasyLiving’s home health and companion services, including all of those listed above.