From reduced mobility to fewer available activities to stay engaged, there are several things that can leave an older family member feeling depressed. Periods of fear, anxiety, or hopelessness can impact all aspects of their life. If you are a caregiver for a senior, below are a few suggestions for loved ones to help them combat depression.
How to Help Elderly Family Members Cope With Depression
1. Don’t Overlook Changes in Behavior
If you are the primary caregiver for an aging loved one, pay close attention to any changes in their daily behavior. Although it’s natural to have occasional lows, a steady mood shift could indicate a serious problem. Depression can make it difficult to perform basic tasks, so keep an eye on changes in the person’s appearance. If they now seem disheveled and unable to attend to regular grooming, it could be a sign they should speak with a mental health professional.
2. Keep the Line of Communication Open
When someone is depressed, it can be difficult to openly articulate their emotions. To help find the best solution for their needs, ask your senior how they are feeling. Knowing how serious the change in their mood is can help them face any difficulties they might be experiencing.
3. Address Sleeping Problems
Insomnia is often a symptom of depression. When the mind is unable to rest, it can make depressive thoughts worse. Although a doctor might prescribe medication, sticking to a regular schedule and avoiding daytime naps could also help your senior achieve restful slumber at night. Participating in activities before bed, such as putting together a puzzle or working on another project, could also reduce agitation and help them relax.
4. Reinforce the Individual’s Sense of Purpose
After years of working and raising a family, a retired senior might lose their sense of purpose, which could lead to depression. Filling their schedule with fun activities, such as gardening, painting, or a favorite hobby, could help restore your elderly loved one’s daily joy in life. If they miss working, volunteering at a local charity could also help foster a sense of accomplishment. Letting the person know how much they are loved by everyone in the family can also help re-establish their sense of self-worth.
5. Encourage an Active, Healthy Lifestyle
Exercising and a healthy diet can also elevate mood. Fish, walnuts, and soybeans contain omega-3 fatty acids, which studies have linked to helping stabilize mood. Walking, swimming, light jogging, and participating in other exercises can help the body release endorphins, which can lift the spirit and curb depressive thoughts.
6. Encourage Social Interaction
Depression can be a very isolating experience. Being surrounded by others can help improve your loved one’s well-being. Organize family and friend outings to give your senior a chance to socialize with others and participate in fun activities. A professional in-home caregiver can interact with your senior during the day to prevent feelings of loneliness.
If you want a compassionate, trustworthy professional to provide in-home care for your aging family member, reach out to Home Helpers of Hoover. Serving residents throughout Alabama’s Jefferson and Shelby counties, the professional caregivers are committed to improving the quality of life of seniors in the community. To learn more about elderly care services in Birmingham and the surrounding areas, call (205) 978-3809. Visit the senior care agency online to discover why you can trust them to assist your loved one, and be sure to connect on Facebook for helpful news.