Thursday, August 1, 2013

How Depression Can Impact Your Elderly Parent

Depression effects lots of people, and the elderly suffer from it too. Elderly parents suffer from it for numerous reasons that differ from one person to anther. You can recognize its many varied and numerous symptoms in your parent if you pay attention, and depression can be treated with self help or professional medically based intervention. It is important to know what kind of help is available and when to seek help so that it doesn't cause too much harm. This article will help you learn what causes depression, how to identify it in your elderly parent, when to get treatment and what kind of treatment is available.

The causes of depression are many and varied and change from person to person depending on circumstances. A partial list of its causes can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Loss of a spouse

  • Moving to an apartment or a nursing home

  • Loss of independence because of diminished mobility or no longer able to drive

  • Health problems

  • Stop taking a medication

  • Isolation from friends and family

This is only a partial list of the things that can cause an elderly person to be depressed, however the items listed above include some major triggers. If your elderly parent has experienced any of these circumstances he or she may begin to exhibit symptoms.

If an ageing person suffers from depression that will manifest itself in some symptom or symptoms that you may be able to identify. If you see your aged parent having problems with memory or concentration this can be depression even though it is sometimes mistaken for the onset of Alzheimer's. Maybe you notice a loss of energy in your elderly parent and he or she doesn't take care of herself and/or her place the same way as in the past. Other symptoms include feelings of worthlessness or helplessness and crying for no reason. If you notice any of these symptoms or a combination of these symptoms in your aged mother or father understand that it is not normal and could be the sign of depression.

There are many treatments available, but don't expect someone to "just snap out of it" because it doesn't work that way. Sometimes an elderly parent can resort to self help, that is non-medical treatment, especially if that is in conjunction with an adult child or other person who has frequent contact with the older person. Often times just moving around helps, especially getting outside in the sunshine and fresh air. Another effective strategy includes being among people by just visiting, possibly volunteering, or even learning a new skill. Ensuring your mom or dad eats a healthy diet daily can also help fight depression.

If non-medical treatment doesn't work well enough an elderly person can seek professional medical help. Often times medical professionals treat depression with medication. Usually doctors will change medications or the dosage to find what works. For people who don't want to take medication many health care professionals will use counseling, either group, one-on-one, or a combination of both with good results. Very frequently employing all the strategies, both medical and non medical, used in conjunction with each other works best.

Don't be afraid to help if you think your parent suffers from this condition because it's easier to treat it before it gets too bad. The sooner treatment begins the less harmful the impact of the disease will be. Above all, if you think your elderly parent is suicidal go to the emergency room for immediate treatment, and begin an intervention program to prevent or minimize any harm.

To reiterate, you found about depression in older people. This article covered the causes of depression in aging people, what its symptoms are and how to recognize them, and different ways to treat it including both non-medical and medical intervention. This is a fairly extensive topic and you can learn a lot more about this and other topics that impact your elderly parent by reading the resources box below.

Copyright 2011 Jeffrey B. Kent. You may reuse this article only if you use it unedited in its entirety and you provide a link back to my website.

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