They are called our “golden years” for good reason; getting older brings with it a wealth of positive benefits, including increased wisdom, the freedom to savor life without the responsibilities of a career and young family to raise, and the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends and participating in pursuits we enjoy.
Even so, it’s not without its share of concerns too, of course. The loss of loved ones, recurring medical conditions, along with the normal physical and cognitive changes inherent in growing older can bring about anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues – in as many as one out of five seniors, according to recent statistics reported by Nursing@Georgetown. That translates to approximately 7 million senior Americans living with depression – 60% of whom are not getting treatment for the condition.
Left untreated, depression is extremely hazardous for seniors. It’s the leading risk factor for suicide, which has been continuously increasing within the U.S.
To address the growing concerns surrounding seniors and mental health, Compassionate Nursing Services recommends the following:
- Watch out for warning signs. Look out for feelings of guilt, hopelessness, helplessness, pessimism, irritability, or worthlessness, lack of interest in rewarding activities, changes in eating or sleeping habits, exhaustion, or struggles to focus and remember details, and especially if there are any thoughts of suicide expressed.
- Check with the senior’s doctor as quickly as possible. Explain the signs you are observing and arrange a consultation for a mental health and physical evaluation. The doctor can determine whether your senior loved one is experiencing depression or another underlying condition that mimics depression, review medications for any potential side effects, and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.
- Above all, never ignore any suicidal thoughts or tendencies. A senior loved one who brings up suicide as a way to relieve the pain she or he is going through should always be taken seriously, and prompt medical assistance should be sought. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can provide further, confidential advice: 800-273-8255.
Compassionate Nursing Services can help brighten everyday life for seniors in many ways. Our friendly, compassionate care companions are always available to spend quality time with senior loved ones, participating in conversations, games, enjoyable outings, hobbies, puzzles, reminiscing, and more, according to each person’s peculiar interests.
Other ways we are able to help include:
- Planning and preparing healthy, delicious meals
- Maintaining a clean and organized home environment
- Providing medication reminders
- Motivating seniors to stay physically active through doctor-approved exercise plans
- And so much more
Reach out to us any time at 314-432-4312 to let us know about the challenges your loved one is facing, and ask about a free in-home consultation and for more information about our Chesterfield memory care and the surrounding communities we serve.