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How to Help a Depressed Elderly Parent?

how to help a depressed elderly parent

To a lot of people still in their working lives it must seem like retired folks and seniors in general have it pretty good. No need to put in your 40 hours a week, plenty of leisure time for whatever it is they like to do, plus lots of rest and relaxation too. It’s true that things are often pretty great in the early years of retirement, especially if you’ve got a lifelong hobby you’ve never had enough time for. But seniors can get depression too and they may experience it differently based on these different life realities. There are many family members who will want to know how to help a depressed elderly parent.

It certainly can be challenging, especially considering most of these elderly people will have children who are still a ways away from their own retirement. That means they likely have very busy lives of their own, and it is not easy to find the time to spend with their parents as would ideally be the case. Often times the largest contributing factor for elderly people with depression is the fact they’re lonely, and not everyone has as large a social circle as others when they are retired and there are also widows and widowers. Depression treatment medications like Cymbalta can help but psychotherapy is needed too.

Knowing how to deal with a depressed elderly parent is a challenge, and what also makes it challenging for these elders is that people can be dismissive of how to help a depressed elderly parent. Saying it is simply because they’re old or because they have health challenges may be harmful and especially if it leads those immediate family members to not consider the problem any further. Depression in older adults will have different primary symptoms, and signs of depression for people over 80 can be no longer to showing natural emotional responsiveness. Unexplained loss of appetite can be one too.

Read and React

This is one healthcare situation where spotting the problem is even more important if the elder person has difficulty being proactive in their own care. That may also apply to men or women who have a history of not being able to admit that they need help. If it is your parent, you may find that being a little pushy is what’s needed to make them see a medical help professional if becoming depressed. Seniors living in some states will have seasonal affective disorder making their depression worse during winter months, and especially so if they are alone. Know the signs for how to help a depressed elderly parent.

Signs of depression for seniors include:

  • Losing interest in people or activities
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Choosing to be alone over social activities
  • Sleeping much more than usual, or sleeping poorly
  • Choosing not to get dressed
  • Strange outbursts

Older adults who become manic with any of these symptoms must see a medical professional as soon as possible. There are more low-key signs of depression in seniors too, like being overly grouchy or senior men taking less of an interest in smut and other materials of the sort.

The Help They Need

The first and foremost things anyone can do with how to help a depressed elderly parent is get them the professional help they need, and if that includes antidepressant use for seniors then that is something that must happen too. Anyone can be forgetful, so if you have a parent that is not good about remembering to take medication then there are many medication reminder app for smartphone that they can use, and seniors are increasingly capable with using them nowadays. They sure weren’t when these handheld marvels first came out.

Next up for how to help a depressed elderly parent is to encourage them to eat well, and if that’s something they struggle with you may want to hire a nutritionist who can advise them on health eating. Anemia may factor into their feeling down too, and part of eating better for depression treatment is to have elders up their iron intake and refined sugar should be cut out of the diet as much as possible. You should also encourage them to be active, with a low-impact cardio workout for seniors that gets their heart rate up but not too much. If they’re breaking a light sweat, that’s good enough.

Last but not least is to try to be there for them as much as possible and try to foster more positive interactions for them. You’ll learn what works best for that person and by being there for them supportively you may make more of a difference than you’d have guessed. This is all part of how to help a depressed elderly parent and it is what any loving son or daughter would do for their mother or father.

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IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.


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