Depression is not limited to a certain age group; it can affect those at all stages of life. If your elderly parent has been diagnosed with depression, it is important that you take steps to help him or her.
Stay Engaged with Your Loved One
While your parent is dealing with depression, you need to stay engaged with him or her. To stay connected to your parent and to ensure that his or her mind and body are remaining active, suggest activities that he or she used to enjoy. For instance, go walking with him or her or watch a movie together. The more engaged you and your family stay with your parent, the more you encourage him or her to stay mentally stimulated.
Carefully Select Your Words
When talking to your parent about how he or she is feeling, it is important that you avoid using words that could trigger a defensive response. If your parent shuts down or refuses to discuss his or her feelings, it will be more difficult to get him or her the treatment that is needed. Buzz words, such as "cannot cope" or "depression," can illicit a negative response sometimes. Instead, acknowledge that your parent is having a rough time and invite him or her to talk to you about it.
Consider Home Health Care
If your parent lives alone or spends a significant amount of time on his or her own, consider hiring a home health aide. The aide can help ensure that your parent's day-to-day needs are met and also provide companionship. Home health care workers are also trained in handling older patients who are suffering from depression and can help you monitor your parent's mental state. The aide's input could prove invaluable in helping your parent's doctor with developing a treatment plan to help your parent.
Your parent could be reluctant to attend counseling, but it can be helpful. A counselor can help pinpoint the source of your parent's depression and help him or her deal with it. Your parent's doctor could also help determine if there is a medicinal therapy that could be used to help reduce the symptoms that your parent is experiencing. If your parent is not willing to undergo treatment, offer to attend therapy with him or her. Your encouragement could make a difference.
Consult with your parent's doctor about other things you can do to help him or her cope with the symptoms of depression.