They are called our “golden years” for good reason; growing older brings with it many great benefits, including greater wisdom, the freedom to enjoy life without having the responsibilities of a job and young family to raise, plus the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends and engaging in activities we enjoy.
Even so, it’s not free from its share of challenges too, of course. The loss of loved ones, persistent medical ailments, as well as the standard physical and cognitive changes inherent in growing older could lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions – in as many as one out of five seniors, based on recent statistics reported by Nursing@Georgetown. That translates to approximately 7 million senior Americans living with depression – 60% of whom are not receiving treatment for the condition.
Left untreated, depression is extremely dangerous for older adults. It is the leading risk factor for suicide, which has been gradually increasing in the U.S.
So, what can you do to help ensure that senior mental health care is being addressed for an older adult you love?
- Watch out for warning signs. Keep an eye out for feelings of hopelessness, guilt, pessimism, helplessness, irritability or worthlessness, lack of interest in rewarding activities, changes in eating or sleeping habits, exhaustion, or struggles to concentrate and remember details, and particularly if there are any thoughts of suicide expressed.
- Consult with the senior’s physician as soon as possible. Explain the signs you are observing and arrange for a consultation for a mental health and physical evaluation. The doctor can see whether your loved one is experiencing depression or another underlying condition that mimics depression, review medications for any possible adverse reactions, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
- Above all, never ignore any suicidal thoughts or tendencies. A senior loved one who mentions suicide as a way to relieve the pain he or she is enduring should always be taken seriously, and immediate medical assistance should be sought. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can provide further, confidential advice: 800-273-8255.
Home With You Senior Care’s professional in-home care in Ellicott City and the surrounding areas can help brighten everyday life for seniors in lots of ways. Our friendly, compassionate care companions are always available to spend quality time with older adults, engaging in conversations, games, enjoyable outings, hobbies, puzzles, reminiscing, and so much more, according to each person’s particular interests.
Other ways we are able to help include:
- Planning and preparing healthy, delicious meals
- Maintaining a clean and organized home environment
- Providing medication reminders
- Motivating seniors to stay physically active through doctor-approved exercise plans
- And so much more
Reach out to us any time at 410-756-0959 to let us know about the challenges your loved one is facing, and request a complimentary in-home consultation for additional details about our professional in home care in Ellicott City and the surrounding areas.