Well, the holidays are over and it’s getting really cold and grey outside. It’s an easy time to get a little down, especially if you’re a senior. So how do you know when you or your older loved one is really depressed?
Most of us are just not as perky during the winter months, especially after the holidays. It’s hard to get motivated when it’s hard to get outside and take a nice walk. For older people it can even hit harder. They may have quit driving or don’t want to get out in bad weather. The lack of sunshine can also take a toll on all of us. We all need that sunshine to feel good.
Have You Noticed Your Older Loved One is Acting Differently?
According to HelpGuide.org there are a number of signs to look for if you suspect you or your older loved one is depressed. Do they seem a little down? Are they complaining about aches and pains more than usual? Are they eating well and sleeping well? Have you noticed they’re not taking care of their personal hygiene as they once did?
Depression can make it hard to think and slow down speech and reaction time. They may talk about feeling worthless and begin to isolate themselves. Activities they once enjoyed become uninteresting. These are all signs of depression that you shouldn’t chalk up to just getting old.
Make an appointment with their doctor and don’t take “I won’t go” for an answer. Their doctor can identify if they need help dealing with their depression. It’s better to play it safe when it comes to depression in the elderly. Their doctor may give them a prescription or refer them to a psychiatrist. Make sure you know what the doctor has advised and keep track of your loved ones’ condition, their meds and their daily activities.
Encourage, Connect, Be Persistent
What we can do for our loved ones if they’re just going through a blue phase is encourage them to take good care of themselves by eating right, sleeping well and getting some exercise. They should be getting up at least every hour to move. It’s a mood booster they cannot do without.
Take them out of the house. Encourage them to socialize. Try to get them interested in a new hobby or return to an old one. Keep in close contact with them. Listen to them.
Winter Blues – SAD – Seasonal Affective Disorder
According to Johns Hopkins, the wintertime blues are thought to be caused by a lack of sunlight. Some symptoms include being sleepy a lot, irritability, loss of concentration and an increase in appetite. It can be treated with light therapy and prescription drugs. So don’t hesitate to see your doctor and get the help that you or your loved one needs.