December 16, 2018

Seniors and Depression

The holidays can be a difficult time for people who live alone, or do not have a large family at any age. I believe it can be more overwhelming for seniors when they do not have close relationships. The holiday season is a perfect time to check on seniors, family or not, who live alone, bring them some cheer and a smile. You will learn a lot about their true well being, and their safety during a face to face visit. A phone call to check in is great, but some people will not report their discontent.

The American Medical Resources Institute reports "Approximately 6 million people over 65 are depressed". Our elderly deserve to be respected, cared for, and comforted when needed. They should never feel isolated or forgotten. Although depression is often considered a chemical imbalance, and often needs to be treated with medications.

When you visit your loved ones, look for signs, changes in their appearance, neglect whether self or the home, or weight loss. Ask are they eating, and what are they eating. If their physical status allows take them on an outing. But most importantly do not let the holidays be the major time they connect with you.

Nicole B. Patterson RN BSN