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Depression in the Elderly: 9 Ways to Help

Depression in the elderly

Elderly depression can become a serious issue during the holiday season, yet this is a busy time. You may have fewer opportunities to visit your senior loved ones personally. During the holidays, older relatives with limited mobility may feel especially “blue”, sad or lonely. Happily, there are many things you can do to help the older people in your life to avoid elderly depression during the holidays or anytime.

  1. Invite your relative out, plan regular group outings or visits: Seeing others and staying active helps fight depression. Take seniors to a reading group, movies, the local senior center and encourage crafts or similar interests. This provides social and mental stimulation, and something to look forward to.
  2. Consider Tai Chi: Tai chi is a gentle, graceful form of exercise many seniors may enjoy. This exercise can help with coordination, balance and agility and it’s often done in a group.
  3. Give an inscribed photo and wallet: Carrying photos of loved ones can help stave off elderly depression. Giving these items can help get the senior into the habit.
  4. Ensure they eat healthy meals. Bad eating habits or lack of eating can make depression worse.
  5. Tell them you care. Talk to your relative and let them know they are important in your life. Never dismiss how they feel or think/say “snap out of it.”
  6. Be sure medications are taken: Remind/help your loved one remember to take necessary meds. Set up a system, like a daily pill holder, so they won’t forget or double dose.
  7. Inform the doctor: If depression seems to hang on, and your relative allows you to talk to their doctor (or accompany them to an appointment), let the doctor know. Consider getting a referral to a mental health professional for individual/group treatment.
  8. Watch signs of suicidal thoughts. Seek immediate professional help if you believe a senior you care about is contemplating suicide.
  9. Take care of yourself as a caregiver: You may need breaks or assistance caring for your senior relative. Be sure to reach out for this help, so you can be there for your loved ones in future.

Companion Care to Prevent Elderly Depression

At A Place at Home, we offer companion care services in the Omaha metropolitan area. We ensure that your senior loved one enjoys visits from a helpful, caring individual familiar with senior care. We can help you with the above anti-depression tips and much more. Contact us today.