The incidence of depression in older adults continues to be difficult to diagnose. Part of the problem in diagnosis is that seniors who have serious illnesses or have recently lost their spouse will be expected to have feelings of depression.
Feeling sadness and grief due to loss of a loved one is normal, but if after a significant other dies, continued sadness that affects normal activities is not. Those offering in home assistance to seniors need to constantly be on the lookout for signs of depression in the people they care for.
A depressed person may be sleeping much more or significantly less than usual. Irritability, listlessness, and feelings of worthlessness are other symptoms of this condition. According to studies, seniors who have home health aides attending them are more likely to show symptoms of this debilitating problem than seniors living on their own. The difference may be that those on their own are observed less than those who receive in home assistance.
Depression is treatable with medications and psychotherapy. If you provide senior care services and have seen signs of depression, the primary care physician should be contacted. Depression can be a normal reaction to challenges that seniors face, but it should not be ignored. Help is available and an in home care provider can be a big help in diagnosing this problem.