Caring for your loved one is a big job. Recognizing the signs of depression can help reduce the likelihood of falling, as a new study suggests the correlation between depression and falls.
A study carried out on 21,900 Australians over the age of 60 has found those who had been diagnosed as depressed and those taking anti-depressants were 50 percent more likely to fall over than those without depression. The study found those with any degree of depression were up to 70 per cent more likely to have multiple falls and injury than those who weren’t.
Understand that depression is an illness. When your loved one is depressed, they don’t care as much about themselves. Therefore, the risk of falling increases.
It’s important to prevent as many falls as possible among older adults. They are at a higher risk of fractures due to osteoporosis, especially to the hips. Unfortunately, falls often lead to more falls which could lead to fear-related restriction of activities, which can circle back around to them being depressed.
Understanding the symptoms of depression in older adults can help you help them. They may often say, ‘I’m not sad’, or ‘I’m not lonely’. Often, these words equate to the feeling that they are a burden on the family. You may also find them getting more agitated or irritable. Changes in mood are often signs of depression.
As a caregiver, there are ways you can help your loved ones if they seem to be depressed. Talk about ‘it’. Whatever ‘it’ may be. They are no longer driving, their hands don’t hold onto things as well anymore, they don’t get out as much. Be aware of when it’s time to offer suggestions and when to simply listen.
Exercise, games and puzzles can also help lift your loved one out of a depressed state of mind. However, if it seems severe, a trip to their doctor may also be in order.
The link between depression and falls is real. Being aware of the symptoms and warning signs can help you protect them from deeper depression and ultimately, falls.