How to Help an Aging Loved One Manage Depression

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Depression is a dangerous health condition that negatively impacts the way seniors feel and act. Experiencing depression isn’t a normal part of aging, and the condition shouldn’t be taken lightly. When it goes untreated, depression could lead to serious medical conditions that impact daily life. Here are some tips family caregivers can use to address depression in their senior loved ones.

Encourage Physical Activity

Exercise provides a variety of benefits, including reduced stress and a lower risk of depression. When exercising, the body releases feel-good endorphins that have a positive effect on mood. Regular physical activity results in the body releasing proteins known as neurotrophic factors, which can boost brain function and make your loved one feel better. Many seniors with depression lack the motivation to exercise, so it’s a good idea to start with easy activities for short periods and gradually change your loved one’s workout routines in the coming weeks or months. 

If your loved one needs help with physical activity, consider hiring a professional at-home caregiver. Lincoln elder care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Enhance Sleep Quality

Sleep loss can be a psychological issue that increases the risk of depression. Seniors who experience insomnia could have a reduced quality of life. If your loved one fails to get enough sleep, he or she may feel frustrated, confused, angry, and exhausted and have difficulty concentrating and thinking clearly. During sleep, the body relaxes, ridding itself of toxins that cause anxiety and behavioral issues. Create a nighttime routine that can enhance your loved one’s sleep quality and address depression.

Serve Nutritious Foods

The chemicals and nutrients found in certain foods impact how various organs in the body function, especially the brain. When it doesn’t receive the nutrients it needs, areas of the brain responsible for controlling emotions and actions may not function properly, causing depression. The worst thing for seniors to do is overeat. Obesity can lead to depression or cause chronic stress. For the brain to function normally, it’s important to follow a healthy diet full of protein, fiber, and other nutritious ingredients. The top foods for seniors to avoid are:

• Refined sugar 
• Processed foods 
• Caffeine 
• High-sodium foods 
• Artificial sweeteners 

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Lincoln, Nebraska, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Control Stress Levels

Being diagnosed with a serious medical condition, having to move in with their adult children, and losing independence can be stressful situations that cause depression in seniors to worsen. Your loved one might become depressed after the loss of his or her spouse. Sign your parent up for a support group so he or she can interact with other seniors going through similar situations. Attending support groups could help your loved one develop techniques to manage sadness and anger, which could address depression and boost his or her quality of life.

Depression is common among aging adults with dementia. If your senior loved one needs professional dementia care, Lincoln caregivers are available around the clock to provide the high-quality care he or she needs. Using the revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, dementia caregivers can help your loved one stay mentally engaged and delay the progression of the disease. For more information on our premier dementia care, call Home Care Assistance today at 916.226.3737.