As our loved ones age, it is common for them to struggle with sadness for a variety of reasons: health issues, loss of loved ones, moving from their home, loss of independence. As care givers, we need to be cognizant of the difference between the expected grieving process and clinical depression. If your loved one is struggling with the signs of depression, it may be time to get help from a professional.
The first step in treatment for depression is a trip to your senior loved one’s medical doctor. Depression can occur as a result of health problems or as a side effect of medications. A medical doctor can either identify and treat this type of problem or refer your loved one to a geriatric psychiatrist or therapist.
A therapist specializing in geriatric care can provide an outlet for your senior loved one to talk through their problems. Depression can sometimes improve through psychotherapy alone. The therapist may also recommend a support group, where your loved one can meet other seniors dealing with similar struggles.
In many cases, the combination of psychotherapy and medication is an effective treatment for depression. A geriatric psychiatrist can prescribe antidepressants for your senior loved one. Antidepressants are drugs that treat depression. Your senior loved one’s doctor will decide which antidepressant is best and explain any potential side effects. Please keep in mind that antidepressants take time to work (up to 12 weeks). If your senior love one is struggling with one type of antidepressant be open and honest with their doctor, as it sometimes takes a trial run with different medications to find the antidepressant that works best.
Mild exercise, such as walking or swimming is also beneficial for treating depression. Encourage your senior loved one to be active after discussing limitations with their medical doctor. There are many classes available for seniors at local YMCA’s and health clubs. Walking outdoors or in a mall is also a great way to stay active and fit.
As our senior loved ones age, they often find that they have fewer activities to keep themselves busy. It is important for them to find a hobby or activity that they enjoy. Visiting with friends over a game of cards, playing with grandchildren or even a new hobby such as gardening can help replace negative thoughts with feelings of anticipation and enjoyment.
If your senior loved one is struggling with depression or loneliness, an adult day care may be the perfect answer. Bon Vivant Adult Day Club is the premier adult day care provider located in Fenton, MO. Our mission at Bon Vivant Adult Day Club is to ensure our members enjoy Good Living Longer. We are licensed by the State of Missouri and welcome the opportunity to meet with you and your loved one to answer any questions you have about adult day care. Please feel free to visit our website at www.goodlivinglonger.com or call us at 636-343-1600.
Article by Beverly McKee, MSW, LCSW