Combatting Depression in Seniors

Senior Man eating alone at table
A significant element of elderly care these days involves helping seniors fight against the effects of depression and isolation. Seniors and isolation go hand-in-hand just by the nature of the fact that they are often less involved socially than younger people. This is especially true during the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, when people have been encouraged to isolate themselves and avoid interacting. Gentle Shepherd Home Care provides in-home senior care in Colorado Springs and offers the following recommendations for battling against the effects of depression.

Looking for signs of depression 

It’s important to recognize the signs of depression in an elderly person, because if it’s ignored, it probably won’t be long before ill health follows. Look for a lack of interest in doing normal daily activities, especially those things your senior used to enjoy. Seniors who are depressed may not want to eat or drink regularly, and may seem lethargic throughout the day. When you identify symptoms like these, you need to act quickly to avoid the onset of depression in your senior relative or charge.

Plan social activities

Whenever possible, a caretaker should plan social activities, which might involve good conversation, meal preparation, communal reading sessions, listening to music, putting scrapbooks together, or possibly playing board games. These kinds of activities can not only provide a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment while they’re being performed, but but they can be something to look forward to each week.

Volunteer for something

In terms of giving your senior a sense of purpose, there’s nothing better than volunteering for a worthwhile cause in your community. For someone who’s good at sewing, they may want to make quilts for homeless individuals, or they may want to write supportive cards and letters to military service members, or they may want to help organizations prepare for the holidays by volunteering their time and effort.

Online socializing

One of the best ways of combating isolationism and depression is to socialize with others. Even for someone who is physically disabled, they can still participate in online interaction. There are several social media opportunities for seniors, and there are groups which have special interests that your senior may also have. If your senior is able to be more active physically, they can attend senior center activities and get-togethers for some wonderful interaction with people of their own age.

Encourage a sense of purpose

Many seniors become isolated or depressed because they simply lack a sense of purpose in their lives. For some elderly individuals, many of the important people in their lives have passed away and they feel isolated and alone. You can restore a reason for living and enjoying life by encouraging a sense of purpose in your senior. Some of the best ways of accomplishing this are to take up a hobby like gardening, knitting, daily walks, solving crossword puzzles, or perhaps to join a social group which puts the senior in contact with other elderly people. Anything that gets them out of their shell and forces them to participate in life again can help to restore that all-important sense of purpose.
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