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Noticing Senior Depression

Brittany Skellenger
Brittany Skellenger | April 14, 2015

seniordepressionBeing sad can be a normal part of someone’s life. It’s a way of coping with an illness, a death in the family or any major life event. But when that lethargic set of mind persists in your senior patients, you should take action as a senior care provider. Here is some general information about depression and how you can help.

As quoted from, “a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.”

Symptoms can include:
-Changes in appetite
-Decrease in energy
-Persistent sad, anxious feelings
-Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
-Different sleep patterns
-Less social/change in his/her normal social behavior
-Frequent crying episodes
-Changes in everyday situations (used to keep a tidy room, now it's unkempt)
-Persistent aches or pains that will not decrease with treatment
-Thoughts of suicide

There are many reasons why it can be overlooked. They don’t want to bother anyone with another health issue, they don’t want to talk about their feelings or they just don’t understand themselves. Seniors being depressed is not uncommon, though, and it is important that your patients are aware of that fact.

Confronting issues with your patients can be an uphill battle at times, but it is crucial that you stay active in their lives, stay persistent and work to get them the help that they need. Take your time and be patient. Learn the reasoning behind the upset behavior, or at least be understanding and convey that they are not alone. Suggest activities to lift their spirits – it can be as simple as going outside for some fresh air. Attending to your patients in more ways than one can be very beneficial and possibly lifesaving. 


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