Follow these steps if you are concerned about your aging parent’s or loved ones mood.
- Step 1. Notice if your aging parent is unable to enjoy the things he or she always enjoyed in the past. This could be a symptom of depression.
- Step 2. Look for other symptoms of depression, such as eating too much or too little, sleeping too much or not enough, and outbursts of temper that are uncharacteristic of your parent.
- Step 3. Consider accompanying you aging parent to the doctor’s office for a checkup to discuss these symptoms.
- Step 4. Know that depression in elders is often overlooked and undertreated. You may need to gently help your loved one mention the symptoms to the doctor.
- Step 5. Be watchful over your aging loved one’s quality of life. Depression can be successfully treated with medication and talk therapy, giving him or her the best chance to recover and regain an optimum quality of life.
Tips & Warnings
- Depression is often overlooked in aging parents and persons, even by doctors, who may think feeling sad is just part of getting old.
- No one who can be treated for this problem of depression should suffer unnecessarily.
- Adult children of aging parents may need to help advocate for their loved ones with the parent’s doctors, to get the right help when it is needed.
- Do not ignore the obvious signs of an aging parent’s symptoms of depression. It can be dangerous and even lead to elder suicide if left untreated. Get your loved one to a doctor to make the diagnosis.
- Many effective medications can help, but they can also have side effects. Be sure your loved one taking medication for depression is also getting talk therapy from a licensed professional and is monitored by the prescribing doctor for side effects of anti-depressant medication.
- Be prepared for your aging parent to resist help. This can be part of depression also. Keep urging and offering to help.