Depression robs your aging loved one of being able to get the most out of the senior years, and it may be difficult to watch as your normally jovial parent begins to retreat from his or her favorite activities. Seniors face many life changes that increase the risk of developing depression, but you can do your part to prevent it by implementing these strategies into your care plan, brought to you by the in-home care experts at Coast Care El Cajon.
Allow Sunlight to Enter the House
Natural light stimulates the nervous system to produce hormones that influence happiness. Your loved one also needs exposure to the sunlight to help his or her body produce vitamin D, a nutrient known for reducing the symptoms of depression. Help your loved one plan a routine that includes time outside when the weather permits it. Then, make sure the house is set up so natural light flows through during the day to promote positive feelings.
Address Grief and Loss
Younger adults often do not realize just how much loss occurs in the senior years. As his or her friends, colleagues, and family members age, your loved one may face multiple losses within a short time. Although the loss of a spouse or child tends to hit seniors the hardest, your loved one may also become depressed due to the death of a long-term friend. Always watch for signs that grief is affecting your loved one’s health so you can arrange for him or her to see a counselor.
Your loved one should never spend more than a day or two without seeing anyone. Humans rely on socialization for emotional support, and your loved one needs to know he or she has many people to turn to when feeling down. Check the local listings for events your loved one may enjoy attending, and arrange for transportation to and from the events. You should also make sure your loved one has someone to eat with throughout the week so he or she benefits from enjoying a good conversation.
Provide a Purpose
As seniors leave the workforce, they may feel the effects of no longer serving the community in the same capacity. While your loved one may not be interested in working full-time, he or she may find that a volunteer position provides an opportunity to help others. Knowing someone depends upon them to perform tasks such as answering phones or knitting a blanket gives seniors a renewed sense of purpose that makes it enjoyable to get out of bed in the morning.
Recognize the Physical Signs of Depression
People often associate depression with emotions such as sadness. However, depression can also cause a senior to experience physical signs of distress. Since many seniors may not verbalize their feelings out of a desire to keep their families from worrying, you must watch for nonverbal cues your loved one provides. For instance, your loved one may stop eating as well as he or she used to or complain of an upset stomach or fatigue. When these signs are present, suggest getting checked out by a physician to find out if depression is the cause.
In some cases, depression may be linked to an increased risk of dementia. If your loved one is experiencing cognitive decline, he or she can benefit from receiving professional dementia home care. El Cajon seniors can rely on the caregivers at Coast Care Partners to provide the social and mental stimulation they need to maintain a high quality of life. To learn more and to schedule an appointment, please give us a call today at 619-354-2544.