Of the 34 million older adults in the U.S., over 2 million men and women suffer from depression. It’s not just a mental health condition that affects teens and young adults. Older adults may become depressed after being diagnosed with a chronic health condition or following the death of a spouse or partner.
Depression symptoms extend beyond sadness. Your dad’s insomnia, lack of enthusiasm for activities he once loved, and irritability are all key signs of depression. What can you do to support him?
Don’t Dismiss It
One of the most irritating things people do is dismiss the person’s feelings. When your dad is depressed, telling him to think positive thoughts or stop dwelling on his sadness is the wrong move.
It won’t help him feel better, and it could lead him to keep things hidden from you. If you’re going to criticize or offer unhelpful advice, why should he bring it up again?
If he opens up to you, ask him what you can do. He might not want you to do anything. He might just want you to listen. Be there and make sure you’re listening and not just pretending to listen while he vents his fears or frustrations.
Schedule a Visit With His Doctor
Your dad may not want to see his doctor. It’s okay, as most doctors can do a telehealth visit now. He’ll talk to his doctor over his computer or the phone. When he does, he wants to be specific and ask for a referral to a therapist specializing in depression in the elderly.
You want to push for this referral as, statistically, doctors do not always identify depression. Only around one out of two cases of depression are correctly diagnosed. Many base their decision on the answers your dad gives. And those questions can be difficult to answer.
For example, one question that’s often asked is if you’ve awakened during the night. He may not be sure how to answer it as his pet woke him up, so he doesn’t think that depression is the cause. Yet, depression kept him from being able to go back to sleep.
Look at Treatment Options
Some medications can help him, but they should be a last resort. He may find that talking to a trained therapist is far more effective at helping him. Don’t expect him to feel better overnight. It takes time and a lot of support. Be there for him with unconditional love.
Hire 24-Hour Home Care Aides
With a trusted caregiver by your dad’s side, he has someone to talk to. He can express his frustrations, fears, hopes, and joys at any time of the day or night. Call a 24-hour home care agency to learn more.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering 24-hour home care in Enfield, CT please contact the caring staff at Happy Home Care LLC today. (860) 709-1072