What to Expect As Your Loved One Ages: Depression in Older Adults

Image of Dr. Macie Smith, as she discusses tips for supporting someone living with dementia

By Dr. Macie Smith

Aging expert Dr. Macie Smith explains the warning signs to look for.

I’m sure we are all looking forward to seeing family around the holidays this year. It can be especially exciting when we don’t live close to family and get to see them often throughout the year. Besides spending quality time together, extended family visits also offer a great opportunity to see if your older loved ones are experiencing any physical or cognitive declines that may indicate the need for some assistance at home.

One thing you can evaluate is whether your older loved ones are displaying symptoms of depression. In older adults, depression often mimics dementia symptoms and vice versa. It’s also possible that these symptoms can be caused by medication side effects or medication interactions. That’s why it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a physician.

Symptoms of depression in older adults include:

  • Anxiety or unfounded worry
  • Confusion, difficult concentrating
  • Bad mood or mood swings
  • Crying
  • Apathy or lack of any emotion
  • Loss of interest in things they previously enjoyed
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Changes in weight

If you notice any of these signs, make an appointment with your loved one’s primary care physician right away. Once a doctor has diagnosed depression, medication can help alleviate symptoms and counseling can help address the root cause of the depression. Following these steps will go a long way in improving your loved one’s outlook and quality of life.

Dr. Macie P. Smith is a licensed gerontology social worker who is focused on helping families support their aging loved ones through long-term care. Specifically, Dr. Smith educates caregivers on how to care for seniors with dementia. She is an advocate for specialized care and assists others in finding a way to provide a better quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Dr. Smith has dedicated over 22 years of her life working in gerontology and assisting families in finding personalized solutions for dementia care. For more articles by Dr. Macie Smith, go to https://synergyhomecare.com/blog/.

Emotional well-being is important for every stage of life, regardless of age. SYNERGY HomeCare provides compassionate home care designed with a whole-person approach to wellness. Find out what SYNERGY HomeCare can do for you and your family.

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