They are called our “golden years” for good reason; getting older brings with it many great rewards, including increased wisdom, the freedom to savor life without having the responsibilities of a career and young family to raise, in addition to the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends and engaging in activities we enjoy.
However, it’s not free from its share of concerns too, of course. The loss of close friends and family, persistent medical ailments, together with normal physical and cognitive changes inherent in the aging process may bring about anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions – in as many as one in five seniors, based on recent statistics reported by Nursing@Georgetown. That translates to approximately 7 million senior Americans living with depression – 60% of whom are not receiving treatment for the condition.
Left untreated, depression is extremely dangerous for seniors. It is the leading risk factor for suicide, which has been gradually increasing in the U.S.
So what can you do in order to help ensure senior mental health care is addressed in a senior you love?
- Watch for warning signs. Keep an eye out for feelings of hopelessness, guilt, pessimism, helplessness, irritability or worthlessness, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, modifications to eating or sleeping habits, fatigue, or struggles to concentrate and remember details, and especially if there are any thoughts of suicide expressed.
- Consult with the older adult’s physician as quickly as possible. Explain the signs you are noticing and arrange for a consultation for a mental health and physical assessment. The doctor can determine if the senior is dealing with depression or any other underlying condition that mimics depression, review medications for any potential side effects, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
- Above all, never ignore any suicidal thoughts or tendencies. A senior loved one who brings up suicide as a way to relieve the pain he or she is enduring should always be taken seriously, and prompt medical attention should be sought. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers further, confidential advice: 800-273-8255.
Live Free Home Health Care’s professional home care in Gilford and the surrounding areas can help brighten everyday life for senior loved ones in a variety of ways. Our friendly, compassionate care companions are always available to spend quality time seniors, engaging in conversations, games, enjoyable outings, hobbies, puzzles, reminiscing, and more, according to each person’s particular interests.
Other ways we can help include:
- Preparing healthy, delicious meals
- Maintaining a tidy and organized home environment
- Providing medication reminders
- Motivating older adults to stay physically active through physician-approved exercise plans
- And so much more
Email or call us any time at 603-217-0149 to let us know about the challenges your loved one is facing, and request a free in-home assessment for additional details about our top-rated home care in Gilford and the surrounding communities.