Definition of Depression and its Prevalence in the Elderly

If you find it hard to manage everyday tasks, experience feelings of hopelessness, and lose interest in activities you used to enjoy – you may be struggling with depression. Anyone can develop depression at any age, but there are specific factors that often trigger depression in older people. Depression can impact various aspects of a person’s life, including quality of sleep, appetite, energy, and interest in relationships, work, and hobbies.

Feeling depressed as an older adult can often be overlooked as a common part of ageing. Therefore, many older adults fail to recognise their depressive mood as a warning sign and avoid seeking help from mental health professionals. In addition to that, older people are more likely to experience isolation and may not have a support system.

Cognitive behavioural therapy combined with tailored home care can treat depression and retrieve the person’s ability to manage everyday life.

Symptoms of Depression in the Elderly

Depression in older adults impacts people through unique emotional and physical symptoms. Some individuals may have coexisting physical challenges, which can make depression worse if they do not receive proper support.

Older people commonly experience the following warning signs and symptoms of depression:

  • Lack of energy
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Persistently grumpy, irritable mood
  • Confusion and decreased focus
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Lost interest in hobbies and other previously beloved activities
  • Feelings of guilt and hopelessness
  • Sadness
  • Suicidal thoughts

Causes of Depression in the Elderly

Ageing can bring significant health challenges and struggles that can cause people to feel depressed. For example, as people grow older, they may experience various health problems, such as chronic pain, that may lead to developing depressive symptoms.

Other causes of depression include the following:

  • Social isolation and loneliness due to living alone, decreased mobility and loss of driving abilities
  • Decreased self-confidence
  • Loss of financial security
  • Fear of illness, abuse, or neglect
  • Grief due to the recent death of a partner, family member, or friend

Risk Factors of Depression in The Elderly

Several medical challenges can lead to depression in older adults. Health conditions linked to chronic pain and disability can either trigger depressive disorders or make a person’s depression more severe.

Common risk factors of depression in older adults include the following:

  • Physical challenges
  • Medical challenges
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Sleep disturbances

How Does Depression in Older People Differ From Depression in Younger Adults?

Depressive disorders often affect younger and older adults in different ways. For instance, older people struggling with depression have reported fewer low-mood episodes and more anxiety compared to younger patients with major depressive disorder. The higher coexistence of anxiety and depression in older adults is linked to increased health struggles in old age.

Home Care Strategies for Tackling Depression

Access to humanised home care services can help seniors with depression lead fulfilling lives and bring peace of mind to their whole families. Quality home care strategies tackle the physical and mental health needs of older adults with depressive episodes.

Older adults deserve compassionate, person-centred care on their mental health journey. Therefore, care workers should take a comprehensive approach to supporting older people with depression, including emotional companionship, exercise regimens, and transportation to community events.

Socialisation and Companionship

Social withdrawal is one of the most common factors that lead to depression. Therefore, home care providers should deliver emotional companionship and prioritise the individual’s social integration. Older people with depression can significantly benefit from taking an active role in the local community. For that purpose, the support worker should provide transportation and accompany the person to community events.

The socialisation of older adults can come in various forms. For example, your loved one can visit old friends, play chess with their neighbours, join a book club, or start a photography course. Group activities can significantly benefit older people’s mood and self-esteem.

Physical Exercise and Activity

Regular physical activity and exercise can bring various benefits to older people with physical or mental health challenges. Getting enough exercise can not only delay or prevent physical health problems that commonly come with age but also improve the person’s mental health and cognitive functioning. Growing physically stronger also gives older people a greater chance to retain their independence.

People can benefit from partaking in the following physical activities:

  • Walking or hiking
  • Bicycle riding
  • Gardening
  • Aerobic or dancing classes
  • Certain yoga postures

Proper Nutrition and Hydration

Following a healthy diet is a crucial step towards improving an older adult’s mental well-being. Depending on the person’s overall health, their physician may prescribe a particular dietary regime that they should follow. Home care providers are here to make sure the individual eats nutritious meals and stays hydrated.

Live-in Care

By opting for live-in care, older adults can receive professional support in their own homes 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The carer is available for any kind of assistance throughout the day and night. Live-in carers can create strong bonds with the people they serve, provide them with emotional companionship, and increase their self-confidence by encouraging independence.

Medication Management and Support

Medication management is one of the primary responsibilities of at-home support workers. Professional carers are here to assist with administering prescribed medications and arranging medical appointments. Furthermore, the carer’s dedication and patience are crucial in tackling depression and improving self-esteem.

Benefits of Home Care for Depression in the Elderly

An increasing number of older people with health challenges and disabilities prefer home care services over residential care homes. Home care services bring various benefits to older people, and the following elements of home care can significantly improve older adults’ emotional well-being:

  • Retaining one’s own tenancy and staying in their familiar surrounding
  • Staying close to your family members
  • Personal care and assistance with everyday activities (brushing teeth, showering, toileting, dressing, and shaving)
  • Medication management and support with assistive devices
  • Emotional companionship
  • Regular socialisation and fulfilling physical activities
  • Maintaining a healthy diet, getting nutritious meals and hydration
  • Maximised independence and participation in the local community

Improved Quality of Life and Well-being

Home care services aim to maximise the quality of life and well-being of each person. Apart from helping with everyday activities and medication administration, support workers also take creative measures to ensure a fulfilling life. By maximising independence and social integration, home care services reduce the risk of mental health decline and depressive episodes.

Decreased Social Isolation and Loneliness

For many seniors, growing old is an isolating experience, which often leads to depression and emotional challenges. Tailored care plans include strategies for avoiding loneliness and social isolation in seniors. For instance, your home carer can offer you transportation to various places and encourage your integration into the local community. A dedicated home carer can ignite a person’s passion for different hobbies and help them lead a fulfilling life.

Reduced Healthcare Costs and Hospitalisations

Home care services can reduce stress related to frequent hospitalisations and high healthcare costs. It is a tailored, cost-effective approach to healthcare that ensures maximum safety in your own home. At-home support workers cover various aspects of medical care, such as medication administration and help with assistive devices.

Importance of Addressing Depression in the Elderly with Home Care

Depression is a serious mental health challenge that can affect a person’s overall well-being. Due to isolation and physical difficulties, older individuals are more susceptible to this challenge. Addressing depression is a vital part of home care services.

Quality home care providers are always available to assist people with physical and mental health struggles. Modern care plans should cater to the individual’s mental health needs by including regular physical recreation, social events, and other self-care activities.

Overcome Depression with Nurseline Community Services

At Nurseline Community Services, we take a humanised, person-centred approach to treating depression in older adults. Our dedicated support workers deliver high-standard care in your own homes, allowing individuals to stay in their familiar surroundings and close to their loved ones.

Encouraging the independence of the people we serve is among the main goals of our care services. We support each older person on their own terms while respecting their privacy, dignity, and personal boundaries. Our trained support workers work closely with the whole family to understand an individual’s challenge and maximise their well-being.

If you need a CQC-regulated home care provider for an older adult experiencing symptoms of depression, Nurseline Community Services is the right place for you.

Our team provides tailored services, with our office located in Bristol. Contact us now, and we will outline a personalised plan catering to your needs.