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Helping Seniors Ward Off Depression

All Heart Home Care San Diego Helping Seniors Ward Off Depression

This article will discuss an important topic on helping seniors ward off depression. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses affecting older Americans.  More than two million of the 34 million Americans over the age of 65 suffer from depression.  In many cases, depression occurs because of a loss of social interaction, the death of a partner, or having to deal with a degenerative illness.

For seniors, depression is particularly dangerous because it can dramatically impact their physical health and increase the risk of other illnesses.  Researchers have discovered a link between depression and a variety of diseases including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.  Depression is also a major risk factor for suicide.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps that can be taken to help your elderly loved one avoid depression.  The techniques listed below are simple, effective, and can greatly improve the quality of a senior’s life.

Tactics to Helping Seniors Ward Off Depression:

Actively look for the early warning signs of depression

It is important to understand the warning signs of depression and look for them in your loved one.  The signs include:

  • A sudden loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or guilt
  • A sudden change in appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Fatigue and decreased energy levels
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability or sudden changes in mood
  • Persistent and unexplainable aches and pains, including headaches and digestive problems

If you suspect that your relative may be becoming depressed, obtain help from a mental health practitioner or general practitioner.  If you can obtain treatment for your relative at an early stage, their illness can be addressed before it becomes serious.

Help them connect with other people and lead an active social life

As people get older, they often lose many of their social connections.  Some seniors find themselves spending a lot of time alone at home, with no one to talk to.  Isolation and a lack of companionship can greatly increase the risk of depression.

Help your loved one maintain an active social life by taking them to social gatherings, workshops, and community events.  Encourage them to visit friends and family members.  Be available to provide transportation to events.

You can also encourage them to join a volunteer organization.  There are dozens of organizations that help the community in different ways — everything from reading books to children at the library through to feeding the homeless.  Your loved one will gain deep satisfaction from helping others and widen their social circle.

Help them continue their hobbies

As seniors age, they often find it difficult to continue with their hobbies.  In some cases, this is simply because they can no longer obtain the supplies they need or travel to the location where the hobby takes place.  Help them continue their hobby by providing supplies and helping them attend hobby events.

Make sure they enjoy a nutritious diet

Eating a nutritious diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals is essential for maintaining good health.  A good diet also helps to promote mental health and ward off depressions.  Make sure your elderly loved one has access to delicious food that is high in the nutrients necessary to support their good health.

Encourage them to exercise

Exercise can improve a senior’s health and lift their mood.  People who exercise are less likely to become depressed and they have the energy necessary to enjoy a busy lifestyle.

Encourage them to continue learning

Learning new things is very exciting and mentally stimulating.  By encouraging them to take a class, you will help them get out of the house, meet new people and gain some enjoyment from the things they learn.  They are less likely to become depressed if they are busy with their classes.

Ask them if they want to adopt a pet

Owning a pet can help to reduce the levels of loneliness that a person experiences.  If your elderly loved one is well enough to take care of a pet, consider buying them one or adopting a pet from a shelter.  Having a pet can provide some companionship for them and greatly improve the quality of their life.

Use technology to stay connected with friends and family

Staying connected with others helps to reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and sadness.  Use technology to help your loved one connect with their friends, family and local community.  The Internet is a particularly useful tool for helping a senior connect with other people.  They can use online chat, web forums and social media to frequently communicate with other people.

How All Heart Home Care Can Help

All Heart Home Care provide professionally trained Caregivers to care for clients in the comfort of their home.  We provide a wide range of services that can help your elderly loved one enjoy an active and happy life including:

  • Providing delicious and nutritious meals that are tailored to match your relative’s dietary preferences
  • Providing transport to and from social engagements and doctor’s appointments
  • Performing domestic duties around the home
  • Providing companionship
  • Going shopping and picking up the supplies that your loved one requires to enjoy their hobby
  • Helping your relative perform exercises or rehabilitation techniques

If you are interested in learning more on helping seniors ward off depression and how All Heart Home Care can help your loved one remain healthy and happy, contact us today at 619-736-4677.  We offer free in-home consultations and can explain all of the benefits obtained from using a home care service!

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