Is Your Elderly Loved One Depressed?
Although clinical depression in the elderly happens quite often, it is not considered the norm. Depression later in life occurs frequently in seniors who are 65 years of age and older. Unfortunately, only about 10 percent of the ones who suffer with this mental health ailment actually receive treatment for their condition. The lack of treatment is due to the fact that the elderly display symptoms of depression that are different from the signs younger adults’ exhibit. The symptoms the elderly display are often confused with other diseases, and as a result, they are misdiagnosed and treated with the wrong medications.
How Is Depression Different In The Elderly?
Depression affects seniors differently than it affects younger people. It is not uncommon for depression in the elderly to occur with other medical conditions and last for a longer period of time.
When seniors are suffering with depression and other mental illnesses, their chances of developing cardiac disease also increase. This mental ailment can also affect a senior’s ability to properly rehabilitate. When depression is present in conjunction with other health conditions such as hypertension the chances for the senior to die from that illness increase. For example, seniors who are depressed and have a heart attack are more likely to die than seniors who are not depressed. This is why it is important for family members and caregivers to make sure seniors are diagnosed and treated for depression even if the depression is not considered severe.
How Insomnia and Depression Are Related
One of the most common symptoms of depression in people of all ages is insomnia. However, it has also been shown that insomnia is considered a risk factor for the recurrence of depression, especially in seniors.
Insomnia is typically treated with medications to help a person sleep such as hypnotic drugs such as Ambien ratherthan drugs such as benzodiazepines like Xanax. Antidepressants can be prescribed to treat both conditions. However, if medication does not resolve the issue, the senior may be referred to a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
There are several risk factors that family members and caregivers should be mindful of when caring for an elderly loved one. The risk factors include:
- Being single
- Living alone
- Little to no social interaction
- Chronic pain
Depression in the elderly can be difficult to treat if the senior is unwilling to speak with a professional counselor or take prescribed medications. However, prompt and effective treatment can restore their quality of life.
Does your loved one feel isolated and alone? Our companionship services can offer many benefits to your loved one. Contact us today for a free assessment.