According to WebMD, late-life depression affects 6 million Americans over the age of 65. The death of a significant other, a sudden lack of ability to do things that once came easy, and adjusting to new daily challenges are common catalysts for depression among seniors. Depression has a very serious impact on senior’s health. Late-life depression doubles a senior’s risk of cardiac disease and will decrease an elderly person’s ability to recover from an illness or injury; leaving the more vulnerable to die from those maladies.
While many seniors seek treatment, only 10% are actually treated for depression. There are several possible reasons for this: the symptoms of late-life depression often manifest differently from person to person, making it harder to diagnose. Furthermore, depression among seniors is often confused with other illness and the side effects of medications used to treat them.
Senior home care specialists are often the first line of defense in combatting late-life depression. A thorough understanding of the warning signs and knowledge of various treatments are essential for a personal care assistant to help a senior deal with depression. Some common signs of late-life depression include:
- Insomnia: Insomnia and other sleep disorders are common signs of the onset or reoccurrence of depression among the elderly.
- Withdrawal: An unwillingness to participate in activities once found enjoyable.
- Weight Loss: A change in eating habits or a new lack of appetite.
*If a personal care assistant notices any of these symptoms in their senior home care patient, they should notify the individual’s doctor right away.
A major cause of late-life depression is isolation and loneliness. A senior citizen may not have regular visitors or live near family members and friends. At times like these, the companionship of in home supportive services can have life-saving effects. Home care professionals can help prevent late-life depression by simply talking and being a friend for their senior home care patients.
As a top Minneapolis home care agency, Best Home Care provides professional PCA training to its home care specialists to prepare them to combat depression in senior home care patients. Contact Best Home Care to learn more about how at home care can help prevent depression in senior home care patients.