Many elders think that feeling depressed is a natural part of the aging process. This is not true. While many elders suffer from depression, they don't necessarily have to feel that way.
Recognizing the signs of depression is the first step in handling it. Has your elder stopped doing the things he or she once enjoyed? Has personal care declined? Is your elder unnaturally quiet or lash out in anger? These are signs of depression.
It is important to bring up these symptoms with your elder's doctor as soon as you see them. While it can be treated, chances are good that treatment will not be the same as it would be for someone younger.
A younger person might be prescribed antidepressants. An older person is probably taking medications for other conditions and may be unable to take an antidepressant. There is also some evidence that certain types of this medication aren't as effective for seniors.
Instead, counseling or group therapy may be suggested. Increasing social interaction can be a good means of countering the isolation some elders feel.
Exercise is another area that could help ease depression. As an added benefit, exercise can also be beneficial for cognitive function. Elders dealing with cognitive decline are likely to feel depression.
While supplements may not be a good idea for an elder, due to drug/herb interactions, aromatherapy could be useful. The essential oils of chamomile and lavender are considered particularly useful. If the elder needs mental stimulation, oil of peppermint is another good product. On the oil of peppermint, be sure to keep children under the age of two away from this oil. Just the scent can cause serious breathing problems.
Depression can be beaten, but only if it's recognized. Look for symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible for the best results.
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