Moving into an assisted living community can be a big adjustment. For some seniors, it may take a longer time for them to feel at “home” and they may experience elderly depression symptoms. If they had already been having those feelings prior to moving in – because they are coming to terms with aging or dementia – the depression may feel even stronger. At Spring Hills, our expert caregivers are very familiar with the issues most seniors face, including depression in elderly nursing homes. Not only have we helped many seniors who experience depression, but we have helped educate family members on how to spot signs of depression in their loved one.
How to Spot Depression in Seniors
While sadness and feelings of despair are more obvious symptoms of depression, there are many other cues you should look for, including:
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- Lack of motivation and/or energy
- Loss of interest in socializing or in hobbies that used to bring much joy
- Feelings of insecurity, worthlessness, hopelessness, or helplessness
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep, or oversleeping and other sleep disturbances
- Slower movement, memory problems, or speech without obvious explanation
- Pattern of neglecting personal hygiene, skipping meals, or forgetting to take medication
- Fixation on death and dying, or suicidal ideation
Not everyone experiences the same symptoms of depression and it is important to know that your loved one may be unaware that they are experiencing any of them. Keep an eye out, every if you notice the slightest change in their daily habits.
Assisted Living Senior Depression Prevention
There are a number of possibilities when looking at what causes depression in older adults. It could be a reaction to a medical condition or treatment, frustration because it is becoming more difficult to do certain things, or simply having feelings of uncertainty when moving from their own home into an assisted living facility.
If your loved one is depressed after moving into an assisted living facility, consider following these elderly depression treatment guidelines.
Keep Them Engaged
Your loved one may feel like withdrawing from the world but staying connected can play a big part in battling depression. Invite them to the park or bring them shopping–anything to keep them from feeling isolated. Look into getting them a pet for company. Take them to lighthearted movies or suggest taking a class with them about something they have always wanted to learn.
Keep Them Healthy
There is a mind-body connection so keeping the body healthy is important for their mental and emotional state. Work with facility caregivers to ensure they have access to a senior-friendly exercise program that they can enjoy, as well as to be ensured they are eating regularly and sleeping properly.
Support Them If They Need Professional Help
Is depression a normal part of the aging process? Yes and no. There are many factors that can “trigger” depression but it should not be considered a “normal” occurrence that someone should just bear or get over.
Some seniors may not respond to the measures above or may be despondent. Talk with the caregivers about any observations you have so that professional help may be sought, if needed. This may come in the form of one-on-one counseling, support groups, or even medication. Make sure they know you are there for them every step of the way.
Dedicated Care and Attention from Qualified Assisted Living Caregivers
At Spring Hills, we watch for symptoms of depression in our residents and have a holistic approach to healing. We know that a combination of proper diet, rest, exercise, socialization, and mental engagement can go a long way when it comes to feeling better, and we encourage our residents to participate in our many classes, workshops, and therapies. We also have lovable animal companions as part of our therapeutic PAW program.
Contact us to find out what we can offer your loved one or if you have any questions about your loved one’s depression.