Warning Signs Of Depression In The Elderly
Have you noticed that your elderly parent is no longer the happy, smiling person they once were? Are they more irritable and losing interest in things they used to love? Sudden changes in an elderly person’s mood and level of interest are often thought of as just part of old age. However, they are often a sign of depression. If you suspect that your loved one is depressed, look for the following warning signs and speak to their health care provider about your concerns.
When a once happy-go-lucky, loving person suddenly becomes irritable and grouchy, it could be just a moment in time. However, if their entire personality changes, there may be more to it than just having a bad day. A grandmother that usually dotes on her grandchildren may find them annoying and troublesome without explanation. Your patient, understanding father may become impatient and critical. Although they are not definitive, these types of behavioral changes can be a sign of depression and should be closely monitored.
If your parent or other loved one was once a social butterfly that loved being around people, but suddenly turns down activities, it is cause for concern. Depression in the elderly is often characterized by a lack of interest in being around others. They may make up excuses, and avoid being a part of family gatherings and other social activities they previously enjoyed. Even when they are present, they may not interact, choosing instead to sit on the sidelines and watch.
Loss of Appetite
If you notice that your loved one has lost weight recently, it may be because they haven’t been eating properly. Lack of appetite is a common symptom of depression in the elderly. This is especially true for those that have lost a spouse. Oftentimes, the idea of cooking for one brings up memories of the one that has been lost, leaving the person sad and lonely. Even when someone cooks a favorite meal, or they go to a restaurant they used to love, they don’t finish the meal, or say they aren’t hungry.
According to the CDC, up to 20% of the elderly population suffers from some form of mental health concern, including depression. If you are worried that your loved one is depressed and in need of care, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our staff of professional, certified caregivers are experienced, loving individuals and we can help you and your family member through this difficult time.