According to the CDC, depression in senior citizens is not at alarming rates, but it is something to keep an eye on. Depression is more prevalent in seniors who have a chronic health issue or have limited mobility. In fact, once diagnosed with a condition like Alzheimer’s or heart disease, the risk is about 8 out of 10.
Make sure you know the signs of depression in the elderly. The sooner your dad is diagnosed with depression and receiving treatment, the better it is for your family. Here are five signs that your dad is depressed.
Change in Sleep Patterns
Depression often changes sleeping patterns. Your dad may have a hard time falling asleep. You might be used to him being an early bird, but now he sleeps until mid-afternoon. He doesn’t want to get out of bed on holidays.
Ignores Personal Care
If you notice your dad is no longer eating balanced meals, taking showers, or changing his clothing, it can be a sign of depression. Gently ask questions about why he’s not eating. What happens if you make a meal for him? Will he eat it? You might also notice your dad replaces healthier food choices for alcohol or drugs that make him feel better temporarily. These are signs of depression.
Lack of Appetite
If your dad isn’t eating as much as he used to, it might not be something to be concerned about. Many elderly men and women find their appetite decreases with age. The problem is that weight loss and lack of appetite also can be an indicator of underlying disease or depression. If your dad is losing weight, it’s best to talk to a doctor for advice and additional testing if necessary.
No Longer Seems Interested in Favorite Activities
If your dad loved tending his garden and no longer seems to care, this can be another sign. He may not be motivated to do anything he once enjoyed. He might prefer to sit around or stay in bed and refuse to join you on outings.
Questions His Worth
If your dad repeatedly says he doesn’t know what he’s good for or that he’s a burden on everyone, that’s another indicator of depression. It’s especially concerning if he had a strong sense of worth in the past. If he always seems down on himself and says things like he wants to give up, talk to a professional.
Sometimes, having a companion is enough to help prevent depression. Sit down and discuss your dad’s living situation with an elderly care service. An elderly care professional can make sure your dad has someone to talk to as often as you feel is necessary.
For more information about how the caregivers at La Jolla Nurses Homecare can help your aging parents remain in their own homes, call 858-454-9339. We are a home care agency providing quality and affordable elderly care in La Jolla, CA, and the surrounding communities.