How To Help Seniors and Elderly Who Feel DepressedPosted on August 21, 2014 by ElderCare Resources in Blog, Caregiver Education, Caregiving, Independent Living
Depression is quite common amongst seniors and the elderly. Often we notice the depression or withdrawn behaviors, but just don’t know what to do to help. When you know an elderly friend or family who is depressed or withdrawn it is only natural to what to offer support and help them get through the situation and back to being their normal self.
Here are some tips offered by Helpguide.org that can guide you in providing meaningful support to the senior or elderly person you love and care about:
- Listen to your loved one with patience and compassion.
- Don’t need to try to “fix” someone’s depression; just being there to listen is enough.
- Don’t criticize feelings expressed, but point out realities and offer hope.
- Help by seeing that your friend or family member gets an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Help your loved one find a good doctor, accompany him or her to appointments, and offer moral support.
- Invite your loved one out. Depression is less likely when people’s bodies and minds remain active. Suggest activities to do together that your loved one used to enjoy: walks, an art class, a trip to the museum or the movies—anything that provides mental or physical stimulation.
- Schedule regular social activities. Group outings, visits from friends and family members, or trips to the local senior or community center can help combat isolation and loneliness. Be gently insistent if your plans are refused: depressed people often feel better when they’re around others.
- Plan and prepare healthy meals. A poor diet can make depression worse, so make sure your loved one is eating right, with plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and some protein at every meal.
- Encourage the person to follow through with treatment. Depression usually recurs when treatment is stopped too soon, so help your loved one keep up with his or her treatment plan. If it isn’t helping, look into other medications and therapies.
- Make sure all medications are taken as instructed. Remind the person to obey doctor’s orders about the use of alcohol while on medication. Help them remember when to take their dose.
- Watch for suicide warning signs. Seek immediate professional help if you suspect that your loved one is thinking about suicide.