Watching an aging loved one face depression can be difficult, and many seniors develop this condition. Although you may not be able to heal your loved one’s depression, you can take steps to help him or her manage the symptoms and feel better. These tips are all simple things you can do at home to help your loved one feel a greater sense of emotional wellbeing.
1. Seek a Medical Diagnosis
Depression has many different causes. Your loved one may be depressed about a specific life circumstance, or there could be an underlying physical cause. Let your loved one’s doctor figure out what’s contributing to the problem, since the ideal treatment may vary depending on the reasons your loved one is depressed. Once you have a treatment plan, help your loved one stick to it. Whether your loved one needs transportation assistance to a counselor or medication management services, arrange for help so he or she can manage the symptoms.
Emotional challenges are common for many aging adults, but seniors don’t have to manage them alone. If your senior loved one needs around-the-clock assistance at home, the Waterloo live-in care professionals at Home Care Assistance are here to help. Our proprietary Balanced Care Method was designed to promote longevity by encouraging seniors to focus on healthy eating, regular exercise, mental engagement, and other important lifestyle factors.
2. Expose Your Loved One to More Sunlight
Light therapy is effective for lifting the fatigue and sadness that accompanies depression. Try to have your loved one get outside in the sunshine every day. If your loved one worries about skin cancer, apply light sunscreen to his or her face and body, and limit the time spent outside. It only takes about 15 minutes in the sun to see noticeable differences in mood. Seniors who are bedbound can benefit from special lamps, or you can open up the windows to let the sunlight shine inside.
3. Encourage Light Exercise
Exercise is also known to have therapeutic benefits for people with depression. Help your loved one perform light stretches, take a walk, or go to an exercise class. Keep in mind that people with depression often lack the motivation to exercise, which means you may have to work a little extra hard to get your loved one to try. Suggest just doing five minutes of exercise to make it seem more doable. Most likely, your loved one will keep going once he or she has started.
Seniors with limited mobility or health conditions can still exercise with the assistance of a trained professional caregiver. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Waterloo senior care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.
4. Help with Personal Hygiene
Depression often causes seniors to stop caring for their personal hygiene needs. Once a person has dirty hair or wears the same clothes for days, he or she may begin to feel even worse. Arrange for someone to help your loved one bathe regularly. Freshly washed hair and clean clothes may work wonders for boosting your loved one’s mood.
5. Establish an Orderly Environment
Your loved one may also start to neglect the house, which could have the same impact on depression as poor personal hygiene. It may be a while until your loved one feels up to cleaning the kitchen or doing the laundry. Until then, make sure he or she has assistance with housekeeping chores. Your loved one may feel better if he or she isn’t overwhelmed by a messy environment.
6. Surround Your Loved One with Support
Your loved one needs to feel supported right now. Although your loved one may groan at the idea of socializing, being around other people could lift his or her spirits. Try to find one close friend or caregiver who can drop in during times when you can’t be around so your loved one knows he or she is loved.
Mental and emotional issues can have a significant impact on a senior’s overall health and wellbeing, so they shouldn’t be taken lightly. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Waterloo families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. To schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (519) 590-2792 today.