Depression in anyone at any age can be a struggle, but in seniors it can be an even bigger problem. With seniors being isolated from friends and family members for a variety of reasons, depression can often go unnoticed. Many seniors also have a rather stoic attitude when it comes to health problems of any kinds, especially mental ones where they may not show outward signs of illness. Not wanting to be a burden to anyone, many seniors will suffer in silence, especially when it comes to things like depression and anxiety - two things that may not have been talked about much when they were younger and so they are unsure of how to go about seeking assistance now.
But what are some signs of depression in seniors? How can you be on the lookout for depression in your clients and help them take the first steps to seeking help? Here are some of the top signs you should keep an eye out for in all seniors you know to help catch depression as soon as it begins to set in.
Sadness and feelings of despair
Sadness is a normal feeling to have sometimes when you lose a pet, a friend, relative or if you are generally having a bad day for whatever reason, but if sadness persists for an extended period of time in your seniors it could be a sign of worsening mental health, especially when it seems to be for reasons unknown or unable to pinpoint.
Unexplained aches and pains
Does your senior seem to have unexplained aches, pains and other issues they didn’t have before? Joint, back and muscle pain are common when depression sets in.
Memory problems are normal with age to some degree, but if it seems like they are becoming worse or are beginning to affect day to day life, it could be related to depression.
This is a huge sign that something is amiss with mental health. When someone (of any age) begins to neglect themselves by missing medication, missing meals or eating things such as junk food for dinner and not bathing, it is a sign that they could be experiencing problems.
Loss of interest in hobbies, activities and socialising
If your client is known to be bubbly, outgoing and sociable and suddenly they’re becoming more reclusive, withdrawn and quiet it could be a sign that there is an issue worth looking into further in terms of mental health.
Weight loss or loss of appetite
Change of appetite is normal as we age, but if your senior has had a complete change in their eating behaviour it can indicate a mental health problem. If they are eating less and less or more and more it could be time to take a closer look.