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6 Suggestions for Helping Your Senior Parent with Depression

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As seniors age, they sometimes begin to lose interests in hobbies, withdraw from society, and experience feelings of helplessness. However, there are ways family caregivers can help their loved ones prevent chronic stress and alleviate anxiety. Below are some tips to help your aging parent manage depression.

1. Discuss Your Parent’s Fears

The financial burdens adults face in the senior years could cause them to worry, especially if their incomes have decreased since retirement. They may worry about developing certain age-related conditions, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Thinking about dying can also cause anxiety and stress. Encourage your loved one to discuss his or her fears and find ways to manage them. Talking about fears allows your loved one to address the issues and receive positive feedback and support. 

Mental and emotional challenges are common for many aging adults, but they don’t have to manage them alone. If your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the Clearwater live-in care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to help. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method was designed to promote longevity by encouraging seniors to focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, mental engagement, and other important lifestyle factors.

2. Find Alternative Treatment Options

It’s common for older adults to take multiple medications, which could cause side effects that impact their mental and emotional wellbeing. Monitor your loved one’s reactions to the medications and ask the doctor about alternative treatment options that could boost your loved one’s mood and lower the risk of depression.

3. Cook Healthier Meals

Some nutrients and minerals, such as folate and vitamin B12, alleviate mental disorders. Conversely, sugary foods and beverages can increase blood glucose levels, causing inflammation and adverse effects that lead to depression. Too much sugar can also cause neurotoxicity, but adopting a healthy diet full of lean meats, essential fats, low-fat dairy products, fruits, fatty fish, and vegetables can boost your loved one’s emotional health.

4. Provide a Purpose

Physical limitations may be causing your loved one to stop doing some of the things he or she enjoyed in the past, such as driving the grandchildren to school, going to the grocery store, or making repairs around the home. The inability to do these things now could reduce your loved one’s sense of purpose. Help your loved one find meaningful tasks that brighten his or her day and boost confidence.

5. Help Your Parent Manage Loss

The death of close friends or a spouse might be too much for your loved one to handle. Instead of managing the loss, he or she may become isolated from family and friends, increasing the risk of depression. To help your loved one manage these feelings, encourage him or her to seek therapy or sign up for a senior support group. Your loved one can receive valuable tips as well as companionship from people who have experienced similar situations. 

A senior’s anxiety and sadness can be mitigated with the assistance and companionship of a compassionate professional caregiver. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Clearwater senior home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.

6. Encourage Getting Plenty of Rest at Night

Mental exhaustion can lead to negative behaviors and higher levels of anxiety in the elderly. During sleep, the brain rids itself of dangerous toxins that impact the way it works. Sleep deprivation causes these toxins and plaques to build up in the brain, increasing the odds of developing depression. Your loved one should get at least eight hours of sleep each night to increase quality of life and stave off depression.

Mental and emotional issues can have a significant impact on overall health and wellbeing, so they shouldn’t be dismissed or ignored. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Clearwater families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. If you need compassionate, professional home care for your loved one, call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (727) 330-7862.