Depression at any age is serious and should be treated by a medical professional. Elderly individuals may feel depressed because they are feeling the effects of aging, they may have lost a loved one or they may be unfulfilled in their life. Depression should never be taken lightly and should always be addressed by a doctor. Below are the signs and symptoms that your elderly loved one may be suffering from depression.
- They may seem more ‘out of it’ than usual. They may be zoning out or seem as though their mind is wandering.
- They may be experiencing an increase in aches and pains.
- Their appetite may decrease, resulting in noticeable weight loss.
- Their motivation, energy and general interest may decrease. They may not be interested in activities that they were once motivated to complete.
- Thoughts or comments about death, suicide or the after math of death.
- Their sleep schedule may suffer, as they may not be able to fall asleep at night or may be oversleeping.
Of course, it is important to note that some of these things may be just a sign of aging, but they should never be extreme. If you have concerns about your loved one feeling depressed, you should talk to his or her doctor.
It is important to keep in mind that for your elderly loved one, they are likely experiencing a shift in their life. They may have lost a friend or significant other due to old age, they may have recently experienced a fall or accident, or they may feel lost knowing that they are unable to accomplish tasks that they could do when they were younger. It is common for an elderly individual to go through various emotions during this stage in their life, but if depression becomes apparent, it should be addressed as soon as possible. It is better to be overly cautious with your loved one’s mental health than to write it off as a side effect of aging.
We hope that this will help you determine whether you should speak with your loved one’s doctor and will help you recognize the signs of depression in a senior.