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Finding Help for Elderly Individuals Suffering from Depression

  • By celia barrymore
  • Published 12/10/2012

At times, the different changes of life can lead to depression in an elderly individual. Living alone, losing a loved one, relocating to a new place, and many other changes can be the cause of this.

The problem worsens if the elderly individual lacks the help and support from family members, friends and neighbours. Old age brings numerous physical and psychological challenges; however, it is possible to lead a happy and satisfied life in spite of these.

Depression is not a natural consequence of ageing. If it is not recognised and treated on time, depression can affect the elderly individual’s health and well being. Here is a brief discussion on how to recognise depression and find a solution for it.

Understanding the causes of depression

Changes that enhance the feelings of loneliness and isolation may lead to depression. Loss of mobility or loss of driving ability, loss of a family member or a close friend, and such other incidents may cause such feelings.

If the elderly individual lives on his/her own, anxiety about health or finances may be common. This may also lead to depression. Chronic health problems or disabilities accompanied by pain and discomfort may also be another factor.

Some medications may also affect the psychological well being of an elderly individual. The problem is often that doctors emphasise more on the physical aspects of ageing and ignore the mental challenges such as depression.

Recognising the symptoms of depression

It may be difficult for the medical practitioner to diagnose depression. Moreover, the complex health condition of ageing individuals may make the diagnosis even more difficult. If the elderly individual lives alone, the family may not notice it either.

Another problem is that the individuals seldom want to discuss their feelings with others. A qualified and experienced home care provider may be able to help you recognise the symptoms better. The common symptoms include:

  • Continuous fatigue
  • Loss of sleep or appetite
  • Neglect of self or household
  • Withdrawal from social circles

It may be a good idea to seek help if you see such symptoms in an elderly family member.

Getting help from the right resources

A little help and support from the family members may make a big difference for an elderly individual suffering from depression. You can also appoint a home caregiver at the times the individual has to stay on his/her own.

At times, all that an elderly individual needs is companionship. If the family members do not live with the individual or lack the time, it may be a good idea to find a companion for the elderly individual.

The caregiver may help in a number of ways. Talking with them, driving them to the grocery shops, reminding them to take medications, helping them with gardening and many other small things may help the elderly individual cope with depression in a more healthy manner.

You may find such caregivers from agencies that specialise in elderly care services. It is imperative to check the qualifications, certification and experience of the caregiver before you appoint him/her.

Even more important is to interview the caregiver. If possible, make sure the care recipient also participates in this interview. This will help you understand the attitude and personality of the caregiver and assess whether he/she will be appropriate for the care recipient.

Author Bio

Celia Barrymore has long been associated with a Cork care agency specialising in elderly care services. Whether you need basic health and household care for an elderly individual with a progressive illness or specialised palliative care for an elderly individual with a life-threatening condition, she suggests you visit http://www.comfortkeepers.ie/ for more information.


Hello, myself Celia Barrymore. I am a health blogger and doing the same for a long time. To know more about me…..please visit my website!!!!


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