Depression In Seniors

Depression can be utterly debilitating for anyone who experiences it. But for seniors it can be so pervasive it puts their lives at stake. It is sometimes more difficult to notice the signs of depression in someone who lives far away from you.  But there are signs you can look for.

Sometimes people are happy living on their own, or at least they cling to that independence even when it is not always the best thing for them. If your parent or loved one is active in their community, involved in social groups, has a wide circle of friends, or just very involved in hobbies, than they may be just fine.

What happens, though, when that group of friends begins to die off?  Social isolation is one of the biggest causes of depression. The less socially active someone is, the more depressed they may get. If you notice a note of sadness in their conversation, or if you ask them what they have done for fun lately, and they don’t have much to say, be wary.

It could be a good time to talk about moving to a facility like San Clemente Villas. We have something going on all the time, but no one is obliged to attend any of the activities. Our residents  have their own private apartment to retreat to when they want to have some alone time. It is the best of both worlds for most people.

For some people, depression may not be brought on by external factors. For some cases of depression, the cause is purely brain chemistry. If the right mix of medications is found, the depression can be kept at bay, and your loved one can live a fulfilling life. If they are living alone and will not consider  an assisted living community like San Clemente Villas, consider hiring a service that will come in at least a few days a week to keep them on track with medication. It also helps that there is someone to take them on errands, doctor’s appointments and fix them a nutritious meal.

From AARP, here are some of the effects and symptoms of depression, and how an active living community may be able to help

Health Effects of Depression

If depression is ignored, a senior’s wellbeing is very much at risk. Along with a declining mental health, physical health can deteriorate due to a lack of motivation to move around, socialize, or even eat. Some seniors may even have thoughts of suicide when the grips of depression are strong.

Depression Symptoms

The good news is that getting older does not automatically mean you’ll develop depression. The trick is recognizing the condition for what it is and reaching out for help early. If you notice decreased motivation, feelings of hopelessness, or sleep and appetite disturbances, consider talking to someone about it.

How Retirement Communities Help

Human interaction is vital to mental wellbeing. Many times, seniors who lack adequate companionship sink into depression. A retirement community is a wonderful way to reduce the risk of depression, as they give seniors a chance to make new friends and interact with one another. Retirement resorts also encourage active senior living, which is a key to fighting off depression before it can take root.”

 

At San Clemente Villas we have our scheduled activities, and we regularly hold events and fundraisers that keep our people involved and feeling a part of our beach community of San Clemente Ca. Come and visit us, or better yet, keep an eye out here and on our Facebook page and attend one of our events!!

Aileen Brazeau

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Seniors: Dealing with Isolation and Loneliness

 

Seniors Living at Home

As our parents and family members age they start to lose some of the things that we all take for granted. No matter how healthy they are, some of their functions will be impaired. For the majority of people 75 and older, there will be issues of mobility impairment.

In many cases, the sense of smell and eyesight will diminish. Taking medication can become a major issue because of forgetfulness, and over medicating is even more worrisome. All these issues and more are things that must be addressed with our loved ones and that is where it gets difficult. How do you tell the people who took care of you and raised you that you know better than they what is now good for them? I think the hardest one is telling someone they can no longer drive.

There are numerous blogs and print articles that can help you figure out the best way to talk to your seniors about such things. And sometimes you will simply be put in a position where you are not going to be able to keep them happy in the near term, but you must do what is best for them before something happens that everyone will regret.

Beyond these issues is one of the most difficult to deal with, and it is not strictly a medical issue. It is the issue of loneliness and isolation. There is nothing that will cause a decline in mental and physical health in a senior faster than these. As we age, people move away to get closer to their respective families, or get moved to skilled nursing facilities, and their social group gets smaller and smaller. If your senior insists upon staying in their home, and you can not physically get over to see and spend time with them several times a week, see if you can have the local senior center pick them up for social functions.

Call an in-home care company; even if you are on a limited budget there are ways to help with the cost. That will ensure that your senior family member is at least getting good meals and the proper dose of medication a few times a week, or every day if you can manage it. And it gives them some time with a person they can connect to.

Here at San Clemente Villas, we work hard to make certain that we have a wide variety of activities available to our seniors. We have dances, art classes, exercise classes, educational seminars, cook outs and fundraisers at regular intervals. We also encourage family visits. There is NO substitute for a hug from a Grandchild or Great-grandchild. I know we get busy in our lives and it’s hard to take time out, but schedule that time, just like you would for your child’s soccer practice. These are the people who loved and supported you, you will want to reciprocate. It doesn’t have to be for a whole day, or even any more than an hour per visit, in fact more short visits can be better than a prolonged visit that may tire your senior out too much. Phone calls are good too.

Just remember one of the golden rules: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, treat your seniors the way you would want people to treat you and all will be good…

Aileen Brazeau

 

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