It’s easy to view “Mom” or “Dad” as a rock. After all, adult children were raised by their parents earlier in life and learned to depend on them for daily needs. However, aging folks are vulnerable to depression and its effects. In fact, sometimes seniors face health and life challenges that are even more overwhelming than those experienced earlier in life.
Here are 5 depression-related questions that many families and caregivers have regarding their aging loved-ones:
1. Does losing a spouse cause depression?
SOMETIMES. That’s the short answer. “Mom” may say she’s fine since “Dad” passed, but she could be hiding deeper feelings. While grieving is normal for people of all ages, prolonged sadness isn’t. If a loved-one enters an extended period of despair after the passing of a spouse, it may be time to start the conversation.
2. Can a senior who lives alone still be happy?
YES. Many seniors live alone and still enjoy active lifestyles on their own or with the aid of professional caregivers. In fact, some continue to thrive for years even after the passing of a long-term spouse. However, others may feel lonely. It’s very much case-by-case.
Concerned family should look at symptoms of sadness and individual circumstances. Does “Dad” still go golfing with his friends? Is “Mom” still participating in her regular activities? If the answers aren’t obvious, then a talk may be necessary.
3. Do older people suffer from substance abuse too?
YES. Alcoholism and drug dependency are very common among seniors. Some older adults who successfully fought substance abuse in their younger years revert back to old ways if depressed or anxious.
Seniors naturally suffer from health conditions, so they’re at elevated risk for pain medication dependency. It’s never easy to broach the subject of substance abuse with a loved-one. However, concerned family members shouldn’t be afraid to ask direct questions.
4. Are seniors immune to financial stress?
NO. It’s easy to think that older folks don’t suffer from the financial challenges of young people, but that’s not always the case. Some seniors are confronted with overwhelming medical bills, mortgage payments and property tax debt. Loved-ones shouldn’t assume that “Mom” or “Dad” is financially secure.
Financial stress is one of the most common causes of depression among people of all ages. There may be simple solutions to address financial problems that plague a loved-one, but families must first initiate an open dialogue.
5. Can health problems affect an older adult’s happiness?
YES. As with other life-challenges, poor health need not lead to depression. But it can. People are unique and handle negative events differently,
As is often the case with the recent passing of a spouse, many seniors hide their true feelings regarding health problems. One shouldn’t assume that “Mom” is okay with her cancer diagnosis just because she says, “It’s no big deal.” Even older people fear mortality.
Once again, dialogue is critical. Family members should encourage conversation and always be available for aging loved-ones suffering from health ailments. Nobody wants to confront serious sickness alone!
In the end, families and caregivers should remember that depression isn’t just a problem for hormonal teenagers. Seniors battle mental anguish as well, and often their life-circumstances are more challenging than those of younger folks. The good news is that family intervention and social engagement can help bring people out of their slump!
If you’re a family seeking caregiver services in Kern County, be sure to contact Bakersfield’s best home care agency today!