- Treat sleeping problems: Many seniors who live alone are prone to sleeping problems which can aggravate depression.
- Promote a sense of purpose: Struggle with depression is much tougher for people who’ve lost their sense of purpose in life
- Encourage social interaction: Don’t let your loved one deal with depression on their own: encourage them to visit friends and extended family, take part in group outings, and attend community events.
- Keep them physically active: Research found that physical activity can be a lifesaver for aging persons.
- Make sure they eat healthy: Dealing with an aging person’s depression is easier if you know what foods to serve them.
- Entrust them with a chore: Seniors who live alone often get caught up in a whirlwind of negative thinking. It would be great if you could entrust them with a meaningful responsibility.
- Show them they’re loved: Love makes the world go round, and it can help keep a senior’s depression under control.
- Seek professional help: Decreases in appetite and behavioral changes can be a symptom of depression getting worse. Contact a mental health professional and sign the senior up for counseling if you suspect the disorder is getting out of hand.
- Keep an eye on pills: In case your depressed family member is using antidepressants, you should make sure they take medications regularly and obey doctor’s orders in terms of dosage, lifestyle and diet.
- Consider home care: For senior family members aging in place, you can hire someone to check in on them once a day and help with day-to-day chores such as grocery shopping and bathing.
Caring for a depressed senior isn’t always smooth sailing, but it’s the best way to show your love and support and make them feel their life isn’t pointless. As challenging and stressful as the role of a family caregiver can be at times, I’d never change it. After all, no nurse can provide the unconditional love, understanding, and acceptance to an aging person as their flesh and blood can.