How Do You Know If Your Elderly Parent Is Depressed?

Family, food, and fun. Those are the words we hope describe the holiday season. But if you are caring for an elderly parent, the season can also mean worry and stress. Caring for a loved one who is in a nursing home adds extra anxiety to the mix. On top of this, family members in nursing homes can feel the weight of depression this time of year.

What are the signs of depression for the more than 16,000 people living in nursing homes in Colorado?

Depression for the elderly presents itself in different ways than younger adults. When you are with your aging loved one, pay attention to changes in behavior. Being tired or having trouble sleeping can be signs of depression. Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause can be a red flag.

elderly man with nurse

The holidays can be lonely for many of us, and these signs can be situational, lasting only through the season or they can be a sign of a larger issue.

One of the ways to help your aging family member through the holiday is to schedule regular visits. If you are out of town, find other people to visit with your family member.

Diet and exercise can also help. If the mood changes persist, it is important to consult a doctor. Anti-depressants help but oftentimes this type of medication takes 2-4 weeks to take effect.

Doctors say one of the most important things you can do is communicate with your family member. Keep the lines of communication open and have regular conversations so that you know if there is a change in behavior.

In extreme cases, signs of depression or isolation could be the result of nursing home abuse or neglect. It’s important during your conversations with your family members and loved ones to ask the right questions and look for the right signs to ensure their safety.

Other related articles:

Mental Health America
1-800-969-6642 (toll-free)

National Institute of Mental Health
1-866-615-6464 (toll-free)
1-866-415-8051 (TTY/toll-free)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 (toll-free/24 hours a day)

Rate This Post!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Back to the Blog