Elder Blues: How to Deal with a Parent with Depression
As seniors age, they lose interest in things they used to enjoy. Work through the elder blues with this guide to how to deal with a parent with depression.
We call the retirement age the twilight years. But for two million seniors, those years are anything but golden.
Depression can affect anyone, even those we love the most. When depression hits close to home, your actions can have a positive impact on your loved one's mental well-being.
Here are a few tips to help you learn how to deal with a parent with depression along with some symptoms to keep an eye out for.
Symptoms of Depression
The scariest thing about depression is that it's an invisible illness. Detecting it can often be difficult.
If you're concerned that a parent is experiencing depression, you'll want to take a closer look at their behavior. Here are a few symptoms of depression to watch out for:
- Loss of interest in hobbies and interests
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Sudden weight gain or loss
- Mood swings
- Cognitive struggles (feeling "foggy")
- Random and frequent aches and pains
Note that sadness wasn't listed. That's because depression and feeling depressed are two different experiences.
Yes, feelings of melancholy are indeed a symptom of depression. However, feeling blue from time to time is normal.
If your parent seems sad for longer than two weeks at a time, they may struggle with depression.
Helping your Parent
Seeing your parent battle depression is tough. Fortunately, you can take actions to help your parent.
Here are a few things you'll want to consider.
Voice Your Concerns
Depression is a serious illness that can have a serious detrimental impact on your parent's quality of life. It's okay to speak up and voice your concerns directly to your parent.
Let them know that you've noticed a change in their behavior and express your worry.
Bringing it up doesn't have to be uncomfortable, either. Approach the topic from a place of love and have the conversation in a safe, comfortable, private location.
Spend Time with Your Parent
Never underestimate the power of your attention. Spending time with your parents is one of the greatest gifts you can give them -- and vice versa.
As difficult as caring for aging parents can be, it's also an immensely rewarding experience. Don't take this time for granted.
Make an effort to spend as much time as possible with them, even if it's something as simple as taking them out to lunch once a week.
Consider Professional Help
Seeking treatment for a mental health condition isn't any different than finding a doctor for diabetes or lung cancer. If you think your parent is experiencing depression, ask them if they'd be willing to talk with a healthcare professional.
A therapist can help them sort out their feelings and find helpful coping mechanisms to manage their depression.
Take time to unwind by expressing gratitude, exercising, or speaking with a licensed mental health expert yourself.
How to Deal with a Parent with Depression
Your parent might be going through a tough time, but the fact that you care enough to be there means the world to them.
Learning how to deal with a parent with depression takes time and patience. There may be days where you grow frustrated with your parent.
But remember how much you love and care about them. You mean the world to them.
Are you looking for assistance looking after your loved one? Contact us today to learn why in-home senior care is your best option.