How to Deal With Aging Parents and Depression

Aging Parents and Depression is a pretty common topic among caregivers. Depression is a condition that affects how you feel mentally and, in turn, affects the way you operate. It is a common illness that is oftentimes ignored and can have a devastating effect on those suffering from it. The best part, however, is that it can be treated.

Aging Parents and Depression - how to cope

If you happen to feel sad and lonely, even in a crowded environment, or you have lost interest in activities you once loved, you may be suffering from depression. If left untreated, it can affect other aspects of your life emotionally, physically, and psychologically.

Aging Parents and Depression

It also naturally affects the way you function at work and home.

Reports have shown that the age gap for depression has widened as more and more young people are suffering from the illness. Numerous factors contribute to this happening, from loss of a job to medical stress and even the feelings of not being accepted.

However, we notice the numbers are on the rise as people age, and the reasons differ among those with the condition. Have you ever stopped to realize your elderly family member is “snapped out” while they are around? Do you notice they keep forgetting things or find no interest in going to the places they once loved? Well, it could be an early onset of depression and should be addressed right away.

What Is The Most Common Cause Of Depression In Older Adults?  

Many factors contribute to older adults suffering from depression, and they do vary as it relates to younger adults. Countless researches have been done to ascertain the major causes of depression in older adults, and most of these include…

* Abuse – It might be a topic that is not spoken much about, but in reality, many older adults now were abused while they were children. Countless of them do not forget the trauma they went through, and each time they recall the experiences, a feeling of sadness generally overpower them. This is a big thing for Aging Parents and Depression when memory issues like Alzheimer’s are involved.

For a fact, many of them were merely abused for simply living while others were victims of harsh realities. Bear in mind, abuse comes in many forms, such as physical, emotional, and psychological. Also, people handle these situations differently, but, in essence, it most times hurts them.

* Medication – We all know medications have side effects and do not affect everyone the same way. Reports have indicated that certain medications come with side effects in older adults in giving the onset of depression.

Of course the issue could be them getting confused as to their actual dosage. That can be common with dealing with Aging Parents and Depression – a simple med check could be the answer.

There are mood-related side effects when one takes certain medications, but, unlike younger people, older adults’ bodies cannot handle processing drugs so easily. After all, their metabolism rate is not as active as younger adults. It is highly recommended that you feel depressed after starting a new medication, you need to report it to your doctor right away.

The medical expert may either reduce the dosage or change the medication overall. You might be at risk of depression if you are on any of the following types of medication:

  • High-cholesterol drugs like Zocor or Mevacor 
  • Sleeping pills
  • Blood pressure medication like clonidine
  • Ulcer medication like Tagamet
  • Steroids
  • Certain heart drugs such as those containing reserpine

* Health Problems – Depression could also result from dealing with certain health conditions, especially chronic illnesses. It is never easy to go through certain illnesses that you have to take medication for daily. It is easy to get tired and frustrated and to know it is something one has to live with for life, it can be a bit stressful and initially lead to depression.

* Loneliness – Loneliness comes from different things, either through isolation, decreased mobility, or even the death of a loved one. Having to do things alone or not having their usual company to talk to can lead some older adults into a state of depression.

How Does Depression in Older Adults Differ From Depression in Younger Adults?

Depression, in essence, is depression, but it generally differs when it comes to younger and older adults. For older adults, research shows that depression usually occurs with other medical illnesses and certain disabilities. Most older adults who suffer from this condition often see the condition leading to or closely relating to cardiac diseases and death.

They may not be in a position to easily re-integrate into normal life. As it relates to younger adults, they may have a better chance of going through rehabilitation and initially getting back to their normal lives. Everyone can go through counseling, but it is easier for younger people to deal with the situation than older adults whose cognitive thinking is not as robust.

Thus, older adults need to be examined, and should there be any sign of depression, even if mild, they should get all the help they can.

Does Depression Make You Age Faster?

Stress can play a terrible role in making you look more aged than you are. This condition can make your skin develop pimples, pigmentation and result in hair loss.

Based on numerous research that has been conducted, suffering from depression will allow telomeres to be relatively shorter in people with the condition compared to those who are mentally stable. As a result, cellular aging will somehow push one’s looks several years in advance.

Aging Parents and Depression: Signs of Depression

There are numerous signs and symptoms of depression, and they do not occur all at once but gradually develop over time. Also, people who suffer from depression do not share the same signs in all instances.

If you notice any of these signs and symptoms in your friends or loved ones, especially your older relatives, it is important to check up on them and get medical help as soon as possible…

* Feelings of Despair – There is always a negative outlook on how they perceive life, all of a sudden. They see life as heading in a downward spiral and don’t have any sign of getting better, and no matter what you try, they never change.

* Avoid Social Life – They no longer feel the need to engage in activities they once loved. Nothing really excites them anymore, and they have no urge to socialize with people.

* Weight and Appetite Change – Food now works on a two-way style…it is either no longer a necessity but only when it is felt for – which is once in a while, or they start to consume more than they used to. With this change in appetite, the weight starts to fluctuate, and from there, further issues could be developed.

* Sleep Apnea – Depression has a way of affecting one’s sleep, and this has the potential of leading to more serious issues. Lack of sleep has a detrimental effect on the body and coupled with other health issues, it is not good.

* Concentration Issues – There is trouble trying to keep focused on even the smallest thing at hand. Making decisions become hard as well as remembering critical details is troubling.

* Reckless Activities – Depressed older adults, may resort to chugging on medication in a bid to relieve their distress. They may also turn to substance abuse, gambling, dangerous sports, and reckless driving.

* Excess Pains – There is a sudden onset of physical aches and pains such as backaches, stomach pains, sore muscles, and headaches…most of which can’t even be explained.

Treating Depression

Depression is a terrible thing, and it leaves the victim feeling as though they will never leave the state of darkness they are experiencing. Treating the condition is not a complicated process and can be done with some self-effort. First off, understanding what depression is, is the initial phase of knowing how to treat it.

Understanding the root cause of the depression (illness, loneliness, etc.) will detail a more effective way to solve the problem. Also, knowing the severity of the problem will help you easily find the right solution. In treating, here are a few effective and proven ways to help…

* Medication Alone Won’t Work – Medication can help solve the issue but only in the short-term. It is not suitable for long-term treatment and can have more complications from all those medications’ side effects. After all, medications will only prove effective when you change your lifestyle to a healthy one.

* Get Social and Moral Support – Getting close to those who love and cherish you is a way to feel accepted and understand “life is worth living.” You will feel a level of connection as you get a chance to express yourself. Many people believe that saying something is a sign of weakness, but it is actually a starting point to getting help.

* Perseverance and Commitment – You have to dedicate time and patients to full recovery as it is not a rushed process. Indeed, it might feel a little overwhelming and frustrating, but the result will grant you victory.  

* Lifestyle Changes – A lifestyle change is one of the most critical treatment options that will help you “back to the light” and could be the only solution needed. Making the right changes in your life could get you out of condition and initially keep you out of it.

* Get Enough Sleep and Rest – Freeing and relaxing your mind is a way to help you treat depression and lessen the impact of the negative effects. Having at least eight hours of rest will help you reduce your chances of developing stress, fatigue, and moodiness.  

Take the time to understand what depression is, and knowing the signs will allow you to treat your older loved ones before it is too late. 

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