Sunday, February 8, 2009

Elderly Depression: Coping As The Caregiver

Today's Help For The Caregiver!

If you are caring for aging parents, a crucial
event you must be on the look out for is depression.

Depression in the elderly is a widespread problem
that is often not diagnosed and frequently under treated.
One of the main reasons is that your aging parent
does not want to admit to having feelings of depression.

But think about it. Is it so unbelievable? What if
you were in the same spot? You watch so many of
your friends die. You may have just lost your
spouse. You can no longer drive your car. Your
mobility keeps you from doing the things you always
took for granted.

Hell, if that doesn't cause depression, what would?
I'm depressed just thinking about it. I watched
my Mom go through depression. Her doctor never
asked. When I finally got a clue (duh) and took her for
an appointment, she was secretly glad. Medication
was prescribed and after a couple of weeks, she felt
so much better.

So don't ask your parent. Chances are they will just
say, "Oh, I'm fine."

Symptoms of depression include:

**Depressed or irritable mood

**Feelings of worthlessness or sadness

**Loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities

**Temper, agitation

**Change in appetite (usually a loss of appetite)

**Change in weight

**Unintentional weight loss (most common)

**Weight gain

**Trouble sleeping

**Daytime sleepiness

**Difficulty falling asleep (initial insomnia)

**Waking up many times through the night (middle insomnia)

**Waking up early in the morning (terminal insomnia)

**Fatigue (tiredness or weariness)

**Difficulty concentrating

**Memory loss

**Abnormal thoughts, inappropriate guilt

**Abnormal thoughts about death

**Thoughts about suicide

Of course, these symptoms can appear in everyone
from time to time. But if several are persistent for
2 weeks, it may be signs of serious depression.

Again, elderly depression may be hard to detect
because symptoms such as fatigue, appetite loss
and trouble sleeping also can be part of the aging
process or a medical condition.

Just keep watch and have them see their doctor.

Today's Help For The Caregiver!