Are your elderly parents or a loved one, no longer smiling like they used to? Do they seem to be losing interest and becoming more irritable, even when doing things they love? Old age is usually blamed for sudden changes in mood, behaviour and lack of interest. What most of us fail to realise, however, is that these are often signs of depression. Thankfully, it’s a treatable mental health condition but it must be addressed before it leads to severe medical concerns. Look for the following warning signs and speak to a professional about your concerns.
- Social withdrawal
If your parent or a loved used to be very social before, but have suddenly started turning down group activities, then that’s an immediate cause for concern. Among the elderly, depression is regularly characterized by a lack of interest in being surrounded by others. They’ll often be found making excuses to get out of family and social gatherings, which they may have formerly enjoyed. Even if they do attend, they will probably not interact with anyone and choose to sit by themselves.
A change in someone’s regular sleep pattern is a common sign of depression. In younger people, this may be evident in the form of excessive sleeping. Insomnia is a symptom of depression which has the ability to make the other symptoms harder to deal with.
- Increased irritability
If a person, who’s always been caring towards others, suddenly turns grouchy and irritable, it might be a sign. Its okay for this to happen sometimes since not everyone can be happy all the time. However, if it becomes a part of their personality, then it could be depression.
- Loss of appetite
If you notice your loved one losing weight suddenly, it’s probably that they haven’t been eating properly. Loss of appetite is extremely common in the elderly and is probably the most common symptom. It’s usually seen in people who might have recently lost a spouse. The idea of cooking for oneself may bring up memories of their partner, which makes them feel lonely and sad. Even if they go to a restaurant they love, or if someone cooks their favourite meal, they’ll probably not finish it or just say they aren’t hungry.
- Neglecting personal care
If your loved one starts neglecting personal care such as grooming and maintaining their hygiene, it could be a result of them suffering from depression. Elderly individuals who suffer from depression tend to avoid physically taking care of themselves. This happens because they feel that the daily activities are pointless.
- Loss of self-worth
Seniors experiencing depression will exhibit signs of low self-worth. They constantly worry about being a burden on their families and also feel insignificant. In some cases, they may even become fixated on death.
- Somatic delusions
This is a common sign of depression among the elderly. It’s an unhealthy conviction and fear of developing a serious and life-threatening illness or disease. This is even more common among seniors with pre-existing health conditions, or even among people who’ve lost someone recently due to health issues. People suffering from this condition will obsess about it to the point of convincing themselves that they have an illness or disease.
Seniors can suffer from many mental health concerns, including depression. If you’re concerned about a loved one being depressed, talk to them about their feelings. Listen to what difficulties they’re facing in their lives and offer support.