Senior Health and Depresssion

If you care for a senior you need to be on the lookout for signs of depression. With older adults, health issues and depression are often involved in a vicious cycle. Because many seniors deal with chronic health issues and pain on a daily basis, they end up being depressed. To complicate matters, depression can be manifested in seniors through increased aches and pains. It’s like the old question, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” This problem is further complicated by the fact that many seniors take an assortment of medications to deal with their health issues. These medications also play a role in their depression.

Some of the signs of depression to look for in your loved one include a lack of energy or motivation, any aches and pains that can’t be explained or have become increasingly aggravated, problems with memory, increased irritability, and slowed speech or movement. Be especially mindful of any lack of personal care on their part. Are they eating regularly, taking their medications, or neglecting their personal hygiene?

A variety of medical issues can lead to depression or make it worse. Among them are Parkinson’s disease, thyroid disorders, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or a vitamin B12 deficiency. Many prescription drugs also play a major role in causing depression. Included in the list of culprits are beta-blockers that treat high blood pressure, corticosteroids for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, drugs to treat Parkinson’s, hormones for post-menopausal symptoms, and proton pump inhibitors to treat GERD.

As a caregiver you need to know that depression is not a normal part of aging. If you suspect that your loved one may be dealing with depression, no matter what you think may be causing it, it’s time to talk to the doctor. Perhaps a chronic condition can be better managed. If you suspect medication to be the culprit, your doctor may recommend something else. You can help your loved one by getting them involved in some social activities or encouraging them to follow interests or hobbies they once had. Make sure they eat properly and help them get some exercise. Don’t just assume it’s all part of getting older. Do you have any tips for dealing with a loved one’s depression? Comment below and visit us at:


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Filed under Aging in Place, Caregiver, companionship, Home Care, Senior Care, Trillium HomeCare

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