The elderly, especially the elderly who live alone, can be at a very high risk of developing depression. Staying aware of your senior’s mental health and helping her to cope when she’s not feeling so great can help you to give her the support that she needs.
Listen with an Open Heart
Often what someone with depression needs is simply to feel heard and understood. When your senior is willing to talk with you, listen to what she’s saying and let her know that you love her. Save any judgments for another time because this is definitely not the time for that sort of response. You want your elderly family member to feel safe sharing her feelings with you.
Do What You Can to Reduce Stress
Stress and stressful situations are not conducive to mental health, particularly if your senior is struggling with depression. Do what you can to reduce stress levels for her. Often it can help if your elderly family member has a routine that she can follow on a daily or even a weekly basis. Include meals, activities, exercise, and the right amount of time for sleep and rest.
Make Plans with Your Senior
Having something to look forward to is a powerful tool against depression. Make regular plans with your elderly family member to do something that you both enjoy. It doesn’t have to be an extravagant outing or anything like that, but simply making plans together can give your senior something else to focus on. Not only that but spending quality time with her helps you, too.
Encourage Her to Stick with Her Treatment Plan
Work closely with your senior’s doctor to develop a treatment plan for her. Her plan might consist of medication, talk therapy, and any number of other pieces. Sticking with that plan is crucial to helping her manage her depression effectively. If your senior hasn’t mentioned her depression to her doctor yet, then now is the time to correct that. Get a plan started right away so that you and your senior can get to work.
Talk to your elderly family member about what will give her the most support from you. This might mean that she has companionship from elderly care providers on a daily basis or that you plan a special outing with her regularly. Every person managing depression is going to need something slightly different in order to help the most.