Depression and anxiety can take its toll on the elderly; it’s been medically proven that individuals with healthy emotional states are better able to fight off illness. Being emotionally healthy lends itself to better sleep and an improved appetite leading toward a longer, more satisfying life for the elderly.
Even if the elderly in your life are dealing with medical issues and a declining ability to care for themselves, having a good attitude can help them get through the day. If your aging loved ones have a healthy family support system they are better able to enjoy their lives despite the rigors of growing old.
If you notice changes in their mood or behavior, check to see if they’re neglecting personal hygiene, not eating or if they’re taking a less active interest in life. These may be signs of depression and that you need to contact their doctor for assistance. Depression can be pervasive and sneak up on people and it’s not always easy to recognize. Individuals diagnosed with depression feel an overall lack of interest in items and activities they used to enjoy, but don’t generally realize the toll it can take on their health. While grieving and occasional bouts of sadness are to be expected, prolonged bouts need to be addressed.
Caregivers can help their aging relatives avoid depression by encouraging and helping to keep loved ones involved and active. Loss of mobility, independence, loneliness and waning health can lead to depression. If you, your siblings or other family members live nearby it should become a routine to stop by and visit, pick them up and bring them to your home for a visit or to a restaurant. Getting out of the house, whether it’s for a family event or even a trip to the grocery store, are welcome respites from staying in the house all day.
Be aware too that certain medications can enhance the possibility of depression. Regardless of why depression strikes, it needs to be addressed. If left untreated depression can lead to more serious health consequences; treatment and a healthy family support system will help your relatives get through depression.
Living alone can be stressful for the elderly but combined with depression, it can be worrisome for loved ones, especially those who can’t be there every day. To relieve this anxiety consider a home medical alert system. This system, with its medical alert pendant can provide peace of mind knowing that your loved one has immediate access to medical personnel and family members should they need assistance.