September 29, 2016

A SENIORS MENTAL HEALTH

A common struggle among elderly people, whether in seniors homes, other senior living arrangements or even in their own homes, is depression. It’s an important thing to pay attention to and needs to be dealt with carefully. Depression is best handled as a multi-phase approach.

Prevention. Regular contact and visits can help you watch for signs of the onset of depression. Increased social interactions and positive relationships can also be protective factors to reduce the likelihood of mental health concerns like depression. This contact can alleviate sadness around life changes in an aging population. Other factors that can help are adequate nutrition, time outdoors, sufficient rest and regular maintenance of their surroundings by way of housekeeping to keep things clean and safe.

Treatment. If you notice that your loved one seems to be suffering from depression, treatment is important. Encourage your family member to see help from a medical professional, along with ongoing counselling from a mental health practitioner or clergy member if applicable. Depending on the source of the depression, there may be non-pharmaceutical approaches that can be taken, like UV lighting to stave off seasonal affective issues that can manifest into larger concerns.

Ongoing monitoring. Once an issue has been identified, it’s important to keep an eye on it. Educate yourself on the signs that an issue might be worsening. If you aren’t close enough to do so yourself, identify someone to check in on your loved one and see how they are doing. Schedule regular follow up appointments with your family member’s care team to ensure that recovery is maintained.

Through prevention, treatment and ongoing monitoring, mental health concerns like depression in seniors can be addressed, whether they reside in a seniors home, some form of senior living community such as Cedarwood Station, or in their own residence. While depression can be quite common, it is treatable and there is abundant life after recovery.

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