Recognizing Depression in Older People [Infographic]
When we ask someone how they’re doing, they’ll usually respond along the lines of “Fine, thanks” or “All good” and we take them at face value. What we might not realize is that the person might simply be throwing out a standard response when, in fact, they are feeling quite depressed. Elderly people, in particular, can be very secretive of depressed feelings, perhaps not wanting to burden younger relatives with their troubles or believing that it is all part of the aging process.
We can certainly try to coax elderly relatives into opening up about any depression they may be feeling, but if they vehemently refuse to talk about it, we have no choice but to accept their wishes. In that case, we should be vigilant of certain signs that they might be living with depression. Keep an eye out for triggers such as loss of appetite, deterioration in personal appearance or hygiene, lack of enthusiasm or more frequent alcohol consumption.
Depression can sometimes be mixed up with dementia, as the two conditions share a few similarities. However, there are marked differences between the two. Mental decline tends to be rather gradual with dementia but happens very quickly with depression. Also, while a person with dementia might be unaware of his/her environment or memory problems, a depressed person is fully in tune with the world around them and is acutely aware of (and worried about) any problems he/she has with memory.
Be Independent Home Care produced this infographic which may help in recognizing warning signs of depression in senior citizens. Being aware of these signs can enable you to intervene before it’s too late, so we certainly recommend taking a couple of minutes to read through the graphic.