Caring for an elderly family member or friend is more than tending to their physical well-being as mental status could also become an issue.
If you provide care for an elderly person, whether it is a family member or friend, you are likely to see changes in that person. Battles with health problems, diminishing physical capabilities, losing friends and loved ones, inability to enjoy former hobbies and coping with aging in general takes a toll.
These changes can lead to depression. According to the American Psychological Association, the mortality rate for elderly men and women suffering from depression is higher than that of those who are satisfied with their lives. Depression can also lead to:
- Eating problems – overeating or not eating enough
- Memory loss
How you can help
As a caregiver, you have to remain a positive force in this person's life. You can also help by:
- Knowing the person's limitations and working with them – Pushing someone beyond their limitations causes frustration and can further effect their depressive mood.
- Keeping the person active – Find activities your loved one currently enjoys. These activities may change as the person's capabilities changes. Be supportive.
- Encouraging socialization – Make plans to visit friends and family members.
- Recognizing mental decline and getting help – If your loved one appears to be depressed, ask the doctor for a mental health referral.
If your loved one appears to be suicidal, get help immediately. Go to your local emergency room.
Are you caring for an elderly person suffering from depression, The Medical Center of McKinney can help. Our Geriatric Behavioral Medicine Services focus on the people age 65 an older coping with challenges of aging. For more information, visit our website or call us at 1-855-296-6265 for a physician referral.