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6 Strategies for Supporting a Senior Loved One with Depression

By , 9:00 am on

Seniors living with depression should visit a mental health specialist as soon as possible, but caregivers can do quite a bit to mitigate some of the worst symptoms of this emotional health condition. Here’s a quick look at six steps you can take to help an aging loved one manage depression.

1. Encourage Physical Activity

Engaging in physical activities triggers the production of vital hormones and chemicals that boost mood. Some of the activities your loved one might enjoy include tai chi, yoga, dancing, riding a stationary bicycle, and swimming. You can also contact local gyms and senior centers to see if they have any classes specifically for the elderly. 

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 Edmonton 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. Promote Better Sleep Hygiene

If your loved one isn’t getting enough sleep, come up with a strict bedtime routine. Engaging in calming activities just before bed and going to sleep at the same time each night enhance circadian rhythm and promote more restful sleep. Your loved one should also try to avoid all caffeinated products later in the day.

3. Provide Daily Chores

Carrying out chores might seem like an unusual option for treating depression, but giving seniors a sense of purpose can enhance their outlook on life. In addition to traditional chores such as cleaning and tidying up, consider adopting a pet for your loved one to look after. A 2017 study published in PLOS One revealed that depression and anxiety rates are much lower among pet owners.

4. Suggest Switching to a Healthier Diet

A healthy diet isn’t going to relieve depression, but it should be added to your loved one’s overall treatment plan. If your loved one isn’t sticking to a healthy diet, his or her body won’t be able to produce an ample supply of serotonin, dopamine, and other key neurotransmitters. As a general rule, older adults should eat plenty of fresh vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats and avoid processed foods, such as candy and baked treats.

5. Encourage Socialization

Being reclusive can worsen depression and many of its symptoms, which is why you should encourage your loved one to meet with a group of peers as often as possible. You can also have friends and family members call your loved one whenever they have some free time. 

A senior’s sense of isolation or loneliness can be mitigated with the assistance and companionship of a compassionate 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 Edmonton senior care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.

6. Keep Track of Prescribed Medications

Missing a single dose of an antidepressant can be dangerous, and you’ll need to keep a close eye on any medications your loved one is taking. You must also make sure he or she isn’t taking extra doses or abusing medications in any way. One simple way to keep track of medications is to invest in a weekly pill organizer that vibrates or chimes when it’s time to take pills.

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. Edmonton families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (780) 977-7379.