As older adults continue to age, it becomes increasingly important to keep a proactive eye on their mental health. However, baby boomers also hold the lowest rates of receiving treatment for depression. According to WebMD, “Late-life depression affects about 6 million Americans ages 65 and older. But only 10% receive treatment for depression.” With these things in mind, it is paramount to provide positive energy to seniors to help combat feelings of depression.
Be the support system that they need.
One of the main difficulties that plague the geriatric population is the loss of support systems they have come to rely upon. WebMD notes that, “Advancing age is often accompanied by loss of social support systems due to the death of a spouse or siblings, retirement, or relocation of residence.” By providing that support system that they need, you can help alleviate those feelings of isolation that lead to depression in seniors.
Monitor their sleeping habits.
Just like with any age, it is good for seniors to get out of bed to help prevent depression from escalating. However, keeping seniors from sleeping in all day can help reduce the risk for decline in their physical health as well. DailyCaring discusses that, “Many seniors… are prone to sleeping problems which can aggravate depression. To prevent serious depressive episodes, see to it that the older adult keeps a regular sleep schedule and doesn’t take daytime naps.”
Remember that depression is an illness.
Just like anything else, depression is a medical illness and should be taken seriously. Avoid patronizing or harsh language when interacting with a senior who may be struggling with depression. Health discussed the proper way to help inspire and motivate older adults struggling with depression by saying, “Family members should be aware of the disability that depression can cause and should avoid making depressed parents or relatives feel guilty by telling them to get out more or pull themselves up by the bootstraps.” Remember to take the disease seriously and provide empathetic and motivational rhetoric when engaging with a senior faced with depression.
At Poet’s Walk, a Spring Hills Memory Care Community, we recognize how effective a positive attitude can be when inspiring someone with depression. Our Director of Resident Engagement at Poet’s Walk Warrenton, Karen Barrett, mentioned that, “Taking care of the mental health of our seniors is just as important as taking care of their physical health. As part of our holistic approach to senior living, we aim to intrigue the mind, engage the body and inspire the spirit. That is why we take extra care to ensure that if a resident is feeling depressed that we help boost their spirits with either their favorite meal or a fun activity or just providing a positive attitude when interacting with them.” To learn more about our Signature Touches, click here.