Clinical depression and other such mental ailments are complex conditions. However, they can become even more so when afflicting an elderly person.

One of the keys to happily ageing in place is to be motivated, outgoing and active. Unfortunately, a condition such as depression can hinder these things, which could make your elderly parent's independent lifestyle a lot harder to achieve. 

So how exactly does depression affect elderly people?

Depression and the elderly

Many of us who don't understand the chemical imbalances happening in a depressed person's brain find it hard to comprehend that depression and sadness are not necessarily the same thing. In fact, it is quite common for senior adults suffering from the malady to not feel sad at all.

However, even though life may sometimes seem a struggle for your elderly parent coping with bereavement or medical conditions, they don't simply have to suffer depression.

Signs to look out for

Modern treatment of the condition is readily available in Australia. If you know what to look out for, you might be able to spot the difference between an upset senior and a depressed senior. Those who have the condition could experience any one or more of the following:

  • Weight loss
  • A lack of energy and motivation
  • Anxiety and worries
  • Refusing to eat, or neglecting other areas of personal care
  • Emotionlessness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sleeping problems

Though many of these symptoms could also be other medical-related problems, a combination of more than one of the above is worth seeing a doctor for, if anything at least to be safe.

Get stuck in

If you feel your elderly parent is suffering from the condition, or it has been confirmed by a doctor, then you need to get stuck in and help. Nobody has to suffer through depression – it is curable. However, with a lack of self-motivation, some people with the condition struggle to help themselves.

Don't feel awkward or embarrassed to bring the subject up with them. Though it's a tricky conversation to have, without having it a senior person may withdraw into isolation and become harder to help. 

Cost may be another factor, especially if regular trips to a doctor are called for. It's important that you try and work through this in order to get your loved one the best help possible. Depression is not forever, so the sooner you tackle it the better.

Lastly, in a retirement community such as Sugar Valley Lifestyle Estate, there are plenty of socialisation options available for the elderly. Try encouraging your senior parent to get involved with these community groups and activities to distract their mind and promote positive feelings.

How does depression affect the elderly?