Depression is more common among older adults than you might expect. Several factors make them prone to this, such as the sudden loss of mobility and the greater need to depend on caregivers. The limitations they suffer from due to their age are not always easy to accept, and the people around them can worsen this by unintentionally making them feel incompetent.
If you’re worried that your loved one might fall into depression, know that there are steps you can take to help them prevent this.
Older adults tend to have a harder time getting six to eight hours of sleep daily. They wake up often in the middle of the night, and sometimes, getting back to sleep is just impossible. When this happens, the brain cannot take measures that promote better mental and emotional well-being. There’s also the fact that sleep deprivation affects cognitive responses and makes anyone more irritable than usual.
This is why you must help your loved one get quality rest. It could mean redecorating their bedroom with colors and decors that encourage rest. You can work with them in repainting the walls blue and selecting a block-out curtain design. Finding a bed that meets their specific needs is also crucial. Many experts suggest adjustable beds for older adults, as they can be easily raised or lowered to match their preferences.
Support Their Independence
No one likes losing control over certain aspects of their lives, but this is the reality that most older adults face. Their growing dependence on you isn’t something they can embrace easily, and their conflicting feelings may lead them to suffer depression.
Support their independence in any way you can. It could be by letting them continue their gardening hobby or morning walks, albeit with necessary precautions. Another way to do this is by honoring their decisions. If they want to try the services of Oak Ridge Assisted Living and similar facilities, let them. It could be their means of lightening your burden as their primary caregiver, especially if they want you to focus on your own family or career.
When you honor these decisions, you restore their independence. Regaining a sense of control over their future could alleviate the mental and emotional burdens weighing on them.
Cut Back on Sugar
Sugary snacks are bad not just for your body but also for your mental health. This is especially true for older adults, who might still be consuming sugar-filled foods the way they used to when they were younger. Not only does this cause a spike in your mood that is followed by a progressive slump. It is also believed to cause inflammations that reduce metabolism, which then results in depression.
If they are feeling lonely and are craving sweet food, provide them with healthy alternatives. Fill their refrigerator with frozen berries and supply them with their favorite fruits regularly. Find alternatives to their usual snacks that have lesser sugar content. It’ll be easier for them to make healthy choices when the bad ones are out of reach.
The benefits of exercise are the same for the young and the old. It releases endorphins that can fend of anxiety and depression. Furthermore, it improves your loved one’s physicality, and they may be able to restore mobility that they thought they lost.
Before allowing them to undertake any exercise regimen, schedule a visit to the doctor first. A medical professional can better determine what exercises they are fit to do and what activities will benefit them in the long run.
Find New Hobbies
Their hobbies might change drastically as their mobility and cognitive function decline. Help them find new hobbies that suit their preferences and budget. If you can, why not attend classes together? Signing up for music lessons, horticulture classes, and painting clubs can give you the bonding time you need and refresh your senses.
Classes are also great avenues for meeting people. Now more than ever, your loved one benefits from forming new relationships. They might enjoy the company of someone who is just as passionate as they are for music, and this friendship can open new opportunities for them. Perhaps there is a bigger group they can join, which is one way they’ll discover other hobbies.
Keeping your loved one’s spirits up is a daily effort. Expect that you’ll have good days and bad days because the truth is, it’s inevitable. What’s important is that you commit to methods that give them the best chance of staying happy in this stage of their lives.