3 Tips For Helping An Elderly Loved One With Depression.

Depression affects many people, including senior citizens. If you are providing home care to an elderly loved one, you are in a unique position to help them recognize their depression and deal with it in a healthy way. Here are some tips to use so that you can help your family member with depression.

Know the Signs

It is easy to overlook the signs of depression in seniors, particularly if they have dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Knowing what to look for will help you get them the care they need. Some signs include: 

  • Wanting to sleep all the time
  • Reluctance to eat
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Lack of social interaction
  • Weight Loss

If you notice any of these signs, your loved one may very well be feeling depressed and need some help.

Go Out for Walks

Even if your family member cannot do high-intensity exercise, making sure you take them out for a walk each day can help ease their depression. Exercise allows the release of endorphins, chemicals that can make him or her feel more positive. Endorphins can also reduce some pain they may feel as part of a chronic condition.

Exposure to the sun can also help those with depression feel better. People who spend more time outside are exposed to more vitamin D, which has been shown to be linked to improved moods. Therefore, even if your loved one cannot walk, you can still take them out in a wheelchair to get some sunlight and help them to feel better in the process.

Investigate Side Effects of Medication

If your aging family member is like many senior citizens, there are a number of medications they take on a daily basis. These medications can have side effects that cause fatigue, low moods and other things that can make life more difficult. Do some research on their medications to try to pinpoint any medications that could be affecting them in a negative way. Talk to your loved one's doctor about how they are feeling, and whether alternate medications may make them feel better. The doctor may also recommend anti-depression medication.

Now that you have some ideas about how you can help a senior relative cope with depression, use the tips above to make things easier for them. Recruit the help of professional in-home caregivers who can spend time with your elderly loved one and assist you in working to help them feel better. Care providers like Accu-Care Nursing Service Inc can help answer other questions about depression and aging.