Aging isn’t easy and moving into a memory care assisted living facility can be hard. For some, it takes time to feel at home in a new place. Perhaps they were already starting to feel depressed because of medical issues or feeling overwhelmed about getting older; depression may appear to worsen when they move in. At Poet’s Walk senior care facilities, with all our years of experience providing exceptional care to seniors, we know what signs to look for and which approaches to take to help our residents feel more like themselves again.
How to Spot Depression in Seniors
If seniors are experiencing depression in elderly nursing homes, they may exhibit some of these elderly depression symptoms. While sadness and feelings of despair are more obvious symptoms of depression, there are many other cues you should look for, including:
- Sadness or hopelessness
- Loss of appetite or weight loss
- No energy or motivation
- No interest in hobbies or socializing with friends and family
- Feeling insecure, worthless, or helpless.
- Problems getting to sleep or staying asleep or feeling rested
- Difficulties with memory, speech, or movement that can’t be explained
- Not taking care of themselves – skipping hygiene, meals, etc.
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Your loved one may show many of these symptoms, or only a few. You need to make the assessment based on what they’re normally like.
Assisted Living Senior Depression Prevention
When looking at what causes depression in older adults, there are many possibilities. It could be the result of a medical condition or medication, or it could be frustration about finding things more difficult, or leaving their home to move into a strange new place. These guidelines for preventing depression in the elderly may be helpful:
Keep Them Engaged
Staying engaged and connected with people and the outside world is important for staving off depression. Many depressed individuals tend to withdraw and isolate themselves, which is the opposite of what may help them to feel better. Go out with your loved one – to the movies, for a walk in the park, to visit friends. Find a class that the two of you can take together. See if you can get them a pet to keep them company.
Keep Them Healthy
Keeping the body healthy is important for keeping the mind healthy. Talk to the caregivers at the facility and work with them to find a suitable senior-friendly exercise or fitness program. See if there are wellness classes or other interesting activities they may enjoy. Find out if your loved one is eating properly. You can ask caregivers to make sure there isn’t too much sugar or too many carbs, so they don’t get spikes of energy only to “crash” later. Make sure they are getting the proper amount of sleep.
Support Them If They Need Professional Help
Is depression a normal part of the aging process? Depression should not be ignored or taken lightly, no, but it is not an unusual occurrence. Make sure you and your loved one’s caregiver watch for any changing patterns of behavior or despondency and discuss what course of action to take if they need professional help. If they do need counseling, whether it be one-on-one or as a group, or medication, make sure they know that you are supporting them every step of the way.
Dedicated Care and Attention from Qualified Assisted Living Caregivers
At Poet’s Walk, we engage our residents and offer many exciting recreational activities, as well as customized exercise plans. Through our holistic approach to senior care, we make sure they are fed properly, rested, and have many opportunities to socialize. We even have adorable pets for them as part of our therapeutic PAW program.
If you have any questions about elderly depression or want to find out more about our many services, contact us. Our caregivers are delighted to assist!