Signs of Elderly Depression

Signs of Elderly Depression

As I work with families from week-to-week, I can’t help but notice the number of seniors who are suffering from some form of depression.   An unexpected health crisis, followed by rehab and the inability to return home safely, can be a disruptive and daunting reality for just about anyone. As a family member looking on, it is very hard to see a loved one suffer physically, mentally and/or emotionally. 

Depression can affect every aspect of life.  Dealing with depression can be even more difficult knowing they’ve recently lived life with excitement and vigor.  While some depression can be temporary, it’s not usually the case.  Let’s take a look at some of the signs and symptoms to be on the look-out for.

Physical Health
Any sudden illness, accident, surgery or chronic decline in overall health can cause an elderly loved one to lose a sense of purpose and slip into depression.  Other physical problems such as slowed speech, arthritis, severe pain or worsening headaches are often the predominant symptom of depression in the elderly.

Personal Neglect
Another early sign of depression is an obvious lack of attention to their personal care.  Neglecting to bathe/shower, wear clean clothes, take medications or eat a meal can be surefire signs that your loved one is struggling.

Anti-social behavior
Was your loved one once the life of the party, but now you can barely get them to the events? Did they enjoy certain hobbies once, and now have little or no interest in them any longer?  Staying indoors all day and not wanting visitors to come over can be another sign of depression in aging seniors.

Medication Side Effects
Many commonly prescribed medications have multiple side-effects and depression can be one of them.  If they are taking more than one medication, the problem could be compounded.  If you feel you or your loved one’s medication may be adding to their depression, talk to your doctor to see if you can change the dosage or switch to another form.

Sudden Mood swings.  
If your loved one is happy and energetic one minute, but somber and sad the next, there could be an underlying issue, especially if you feel like the change in mood wasn’t really brought on by anything specific.  Keep an eye out for sadness, feelings of despair, unworthiness or being a burden.  Be sure there hasn’t been an increased use of alcohol or other vices and listen for concerns about death and dying or thoughts of suicide.

Small Steps
Whether it’s the loss of independence, health or mobility; whether they’ve lost a loved one, a pet or a familiar home environment, loneliness and depression is quite common.   It is vitally important to help them stay connected and engaged in life activities.  Help them to join a book club, bring a meal and family over, maybe visit a local senior center together and seek outdoor activities.  Small steps can make a big difference.

Get Involved
Whatever you choose to do, get others involved and create a support network.  Remind them how much they are loved and cared for, but do so without smothering them. Be conscious of their need to remain independent. If they can handle their daily tasks, let them, but offer help in areas that makes sense based on their current physical and mental ability.

In general, you do not want to let your loved one suffer or think that they are suffering alone. If you see any signs or symptoms of depression, do not ignore them.   While depression can happen to any of us, learning the signs and being prepared to help a senior cope with life’s changes can make their “Golden Years” a much happier and healthier time.


About the Author
Since 2008, Anthony Black has provided free professional guidance and insight to local seniors and their families who are searching for assisted living, memory care and independent living in Arizona. His hands-on approach and personal attention to the details of each case has helped hundreds of families transition their loved ones to a clean, safe, appropriate living environment.  


Assisted Living Options

Assisted Living Options

Talk About Assisted Living

Convincing an elderly friend or loved one to “get help” or move from the comfort of their home due to a recent health crisis or on-going medical condition, can be quite the challenge. It’s not easy for any of us to admit when we are unable to care for ourselves.  As a family member trying to find assisted living in the local market, you can be overwhelmed quickly with the task of finding the best solution on your own.  Without some professional assistance, this can be a stressful, time consuming chore. Add the dynamic of medical condition, urgency, other family members being involved, etc. and you have a recipe for an ill-guided decision.

At VIP Senior Placement, we are a part of the solution. We help you navigate the best care options available in the local market place, based on your specific needs. Our personal approach to placement in Arizona has resulted in 100’s of families safely and successfully moving a loved one to assisted living, independent living or memory care.

What about Assisted Living?

An Assisted Living option is usually best suited for those who are challenged by daily activities such as bathing, dressing, making meals and taking medications on time. They offer semi-private and private apartment-style rooms, that vary in size and price.

Most Assisted Living Facilities offer

  • Assistance with personal care (bathing, dressing, etc.)
  • Three meals prepared daily
  • 24/7  caregiver staff
  • Laundry and Housekeeping
  • Daily medication management
  • Social Activities
  • Limited Medical Staff

Pricing and costs for assisted living vary based on the type of care required, amenities and the configuration of the room (Studio vs 1-bedroom vs shared room). The key to making the best housing choice for your loved one is to match your level of care, health, lifestyle and financial needs with a local facility.  While assisted living facilities may offer similar services and appear the same, they are not all created equal. It’s important to that you focus on their ability to address the specific, immediate needs of your loved one, and have a plan going forward into the future.

Get A Head Start

It’s always a good idea to get a head start and have the conversation about what the future holds sooner, rather than later.  Do it while your loved one is still in good physical and mental health to avoid legal complications down the road. Look for some of the evidence they may be struggling, as covered in our blog article entitled,   “The Silent Cry for Help”.  It may not be time to move in to assisted living.  it may just be time to consider independent living or other options in helping your loved one with day-to-day living. Either way, having a plan and getting them used to the idea of what may lie ahead, will make it easier to talk about when the time actually comes.

Call us today at 480-717-9868 for more information on how we can help you.




Our personal, professional service is always FREE* to families and their loved ones. Call today to put our knowledge and experience to work for you.  We will educate, inform and personally take you by the hand to show you the local marketplace and help you navigate and negotiate Assisted Living, Independent Living and Memory Care in Arizona.

*The State licensed Assisted Living Facilities in Arizona compensate us for the educational service we provide. You will never be billed for our services.

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