5 Symptoms & Signs of Depression in Seniors

In this blog, we will take a look at some key symptoms of depression in seniors and how screening for it can be very beneficial.
5 Symptoms & Signs of Depression in Seniors

Depression in the Elderly

For some seniors, coping with depression can be difficult. The reasons for depression in older people can stem from both physical and emotional problems. It is not always easy to tell if an older loved one is having trouble with this type of issue.

According to the CDC, nearly 14% of seniors who require homecare have experienced depression. In this blog, we will take a look at some key symptoms of depression in seniors and how screening for it can be very beneficial.

Signs Your Older Loved One May Have Depression

Look for these 6 common signs if you suspect your loved one is experiencing depression.

Feelings of Hopelessness

A common symptom of depression in seniors is a loss of hope or the inability to look forward to the future. If your loved one’s personality has become more pessimistic, or they seem to no longer have the spark in their personality that they are known for, they may be suffering from depression.

Thoughtful bored older 70s woman looking at window, feeling depressed, frustrated, lonely, suffering form memory loss, dementia, Alzheimer disease, mental disorder. Old age problems concept
elderly man holding an elderly woman on the couch

Fatigue & Low Energy

A debilitating sense of fatigue can be a powerful sign that someone is depressed. Depression can interfere with sleep patterns, which leads to drowsiness and a lack of energy during day time hours. Talk to your loved one about whether they are having sleeping problems, and contact their doctor to see what solutions may be available.

Change in Weight or Eating Habits

Another common sign of depression in older people is a loss of appetite, causing weight loss. In contrast, overeating and weight gain may also be a signal that your loved one is struggling with mental health issues.

If you see a change in your loved one’s weight (either up or down), or a loss of appetite, gently bring up the issue, and see what can be done to help them.

Sad lonely senior man eating soup in empty apartment
cropped view of senior man playing with puzzles

Attention Issues

Depression can also affect a senior’s ability to focus on activities they once enjoyed. You may notice that your loved one is having trouble starting or completing projects, or becomes distracted while having a conversation.

Anyone can have a bad day, but if you sense your loved one is having consistent attention problems, talk to their doctor about it.

Self Harm Thoughts

It’s a sad fact that 18% of the suicides committed in the U.S. are by seniors. Many older people have a difficult time coping with changes in health, finances, a declining number of friends, and other factors that can lead to depression.

If you hear your loved one say things like they don’t want to live any longer, or the world would be better off without them, it is time to take direct action to get them some help. Contact their doctor right away to see if there is medication or therapy available that would be beneficial.

Portrait of a senior woman breathing fresh air
Cropped shot of a nurse holding hands with a senior man

Depression Screenings for Seniors

Your loved one’s doctor can arrange for them to be screened for depression. Working with mental health professionals is a great way to gain insight into what might be going on with them. A depression screening can be tailored to your loved one’s exact needs, and can determine what type of help may be needed. Contact their doctor for more information.

Helping a Senior Loved One with Depression Issues

Many seniors experience significant life changes as they grow older. If you notice your loved one is having issues with a sense of hopelessness, fatigue, a change of eating habits or weight, attention problems, or has made self harm types of statements, it’s critically important that you seek help for them right away.

The compassionate and knowledgeable team at Frontier Senior Living has helped many seniors stay engaged with activities that allow them to spend their days with a sense of purpose and meaning. If you would like to learn more about our services, we cordially invite you to visit one of our beautiful communities, take a tour, and speak with our friendly staff.

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