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Families and Loved Ones

Families and Loved Ones (1)

The holiday season can be one of the most difficult times of year for our elderly loved ones. Do you know how to recognize the concerning signs that can indicate your older adult family member is struggling with more than just the holiday blues?

There are several reasons why an elderly family member may experience sadness around the holidays, any of which can be a common part of growing older:

  • Widowed within the past year or previous loss of a partner during the holidays
  • Caretaking for a partner in declining health
  • Coping with their own declining health
  • Loss of the ability to drive or other forms of personal independence
  • Changes in their ability to care for themselves (bathing, household chores)
  • Coping with the death of close friends/family members to COVID-19 and other illness

Grieving over any type of loss and the range of emotions that comes with it is to be expected and it varies by person. However, when grief, sadness, despondency, or other difficult emotions are prolonged and interfere with a senior’s day-to-day vitality, they may be suffering from depression.

More than two million of the 34 million Americans age 65 and older suffer from some form of depression. Depression in seniors can be recognized by concerning signs, such as

  • Not keeping-up the cleanliness of their home environment. Or, if living with you, not keeping their room and personal effects well-maintained.
  • Finding unpaid bills or unopened mail. Receipt of debt collection notices.
  • Noticing that they have lost or gained a noticeable amount of weight.
  • Changes to their eating habits. (forgetting they ate, eating less)
  • Noticing they are not taking prescribed medications. 
  • Avoiding people, loss of interest or enthusiasm for usual activities.
  • Noticeable personality changes, mood swings, or irritability for no apparent reason.
  • Reacting out of proportion to a circumstance.
  • Hearing them be overly critical about or dismissing holiday celebrations/obligations.
  • Noticeable changes in their mobility, balance, or thought process.

Perhaps you have taken steps to address some of these concerning signs:

  • You’ve kept in touch by phone, mail, email and text
  • Encouraged and even arranged for social activities, friendly visits, or home care
  • Helped them explore former and new hobbies, and shared in them together
  • Arranged a support community through local organizations or a type of home care

If the concerning signs you’ve observed in your elderly family member have not improved, then they may be experiencing more than just the holiday blues. Your older-adult family member may have clinical depression—it may be more than they or you can handle on your own. 

You may be asking yourself: Is it time for compassionate assisted living care for my elderly loved one? 

At each of the Everbrook Senior Living Communities, we provide a range of high-quality, compassionate care to support the social, emotional, and physical needs of older adults at every stage of later life. Our residents—your loved one—is considered an extended member of our own family. Through our Assisted Living Program we provided “life at home, with a little help.” We design every aspect of the assisted living program using evidence-based research combined with personalized care and services delivered by well-trained professional medical and community staff. We continually evaluate and implement an up-to-date menu of services to meet the needs of your loved one. It is our passion for service excellence that places each of our senior living communities at the very pinnacle of the industry.

If you feel that your loved one is ready for assisted care, you can speak with an Everbrook community advocate right from our website. Our advocates provide compassionate guidance to help you make the best choice for your elder family member. 

Ready to visit? Schedule an on-site tour of an Everbrook Community. 

Sources

Learn More about Everbrook Assisted Living

Sadovsky, R., “Prevalence and recognition of depression in elderly patients,” American Academy of Family Physicians, 57;5 (1998):1096.

National Institute of Mental Health: 

Depression and Older Adults 

Twitter Chat on Older Adults and Depression

MHANational.org:  Depression and Older Adults: More Facts

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