Tips for Depressed Seniors

Tips for Depressed Seniors Depression is a common problem for the elderly. However, it should not be accepted as a normal or necessary part of aging. Treatment is available for this condition. If you believe your elderly loved one is suffering from depression, seek help immediately. Below are some tips to assist you.

 

Recognizing Depression

The first step is to observe your loved one and determine if she is, in fact, suffering from depression. A few of the more obvious signs include:

Increased or decreased appetite

Lack of energy

Loss of interest in activities

Increased sleep

The important thing to look for is a change in behavior. For example, if your mother went to church every sunday for the past five years but no longer attends because she prefers to sleep, this is a red flag.

Tips for Fighting Depression

Socialize

It is crucial for elderly people to have a social network. Creating new friendships and fostering existing relationships has an enormous impact on increasing overall happiness and wellness. There are numerous ways seniors can make new friends. Some of these include attending church, joining a book club, taking a class, or just spending time in a local coffee shop.

Restrict Alcohol and Drugs

It is estimated that at least 17% of seniors have a substance abuse problem. They often try to self medicate with drugs and alcohol to suppress pain from physical ailments or to escape anxiety and depression. However, drugs and alcohol exacerbate depression in the long-term. It is also very dangerous to mix alcohol with various medications and since most elderly people take numerous medications, this can be lethal.

Improve Sleep

Sleep deprivation is a significant contributing factor to depression. Seniors often experience interrupted sleep cycles, which puts them at risk for depression. Treat insomnia to avoid this. Read our article on seniors and sleep for more information.

Grief versus Depression

Most elderly people have experienced the loss of friends and loved ones. It is useful to understand the difference between grief and depression. Grief typically resolves itself over time while depression requires proactive methods for improvement. Grief comes in bursts of intense emotion and depression is a persistent long-term condition. Grief can lead to depression, so if your loved one seems to linger in grief for too long, it may be a sign that they are slipping into a state of depression.

Depression is a serious issue for people of all ages. It is particularly dangerous for elderly people since they are already at risk for so many other issues. If you suspect your loved one is depressed, please seek assistance immediately.

 

The Crucial Role of Adequate Sleep for Elderly People

Sleep for Elderly PeopleWe know that sleep is important for everyone. The body needs rest in order to repair and energize. Serious mental and physical problems are associated with sleep deprivation. Unfortunately, many seniors suffer from inadequate sleep. In this article, we examine the unique role sleep plays in the lives of seniors.

How much sleep do seniors need?

There is some debate on this issue. Most experts believe aging adults need the same amount of sleep as they did in previous life stages . The average amount being 7 to 9 hours per night. Some researchers believe elderly people need a bit less sleep, closer to seven hours. Seniors often split their sleep throughout the day, getting four hours at night and another three or four during the day napping. This is considered healthy and safe, as long as the individual gets enough sleep during a 24 hour period. The one thing everyone agrees on, is that the quality of sleep is the most important factor. Seniors suffering from sleep deprivation often have poor quality of sleep rather than insufficient quantity.

Why do seniors have poor quality sleep?

When sleep is interrupted, it disrupts the sleep cycles and diminishes the quality of sleep. Elderly people experience interrupted sleep patterns for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes are:

  • Medication – A number of medications cause sleep disruption and insomnia. Combining medications may also lead to these issues. Most aged people are on numerous medications.
  • Anxiety/depression – It is common for elderly people to have experienced the loss of loved ones, spouses, and close friends. This causes significant anxiety and depression. Major life changes that seniors experience during this stage of life also create a lot of stress and anxiety.
  • Biology – As we age, our bodies slow production of chemicals and hormones we need for sleep. This includes things like melatonin.
  • Neurological conditions – Conditions that affect neurology like parkinson’s and stroke may create disruptions in sleep.
  • Pain – Arthritis and other painful physical conditions make it difficult for elderly people to remain asleep for long periods of time.
  • Sleep apnea – This is the most common sleep disorder among seniors.

Dangers of inadequate sleep

  • Falls/injury – Without proper sleep, people become more prone to falls and injury.
  • Illness – There is an increased risk of illness when the body does not receive proper rest. This can be something as simple as a common cold or more severe like a stroke.
  • Anxiety/depression – These mental issues are exacerbated by lack of sleep.

It is vital for elderly people to receive the proper duration and quality of sleep. Seek professional advice if you think your loved one is sleep deprived.