One of the biggest reasons families opt for at-home care for seniors over residential care homes is the independence it provides. Hiring a personal support worker who makes home visits allows the senior a cherished measure of control over his or her life.
Unfortunately, living at home does come with a potential drawback: isolation.
We often think of depression as an affliction of the young. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Depression is a persistent problem in our elderly population, and it can have life-changing effects on a senior’s overall health and wellbeing.
And it’s not just the seniors themselves who suffer. According to the Right At Home home care agency, one person’s depression can easily affect entire families.
Between 10 and 15% of seniors in Canada suffer from depression. It’s especially pervasive with women over 65, whose rate of depression is double that of Canadian senior men, and for those seniors who live alone.
But there are powerful ways to provide comfort and healing for depression through at-home care for seniors.
Benefits of At-Home Care for Seniors With Depression
- Help Seniors Make Connections – Leaving the house to connect with friends and family is important for seniors. At-home care workers can facilitate this by taking care of transportation and accompanying the senior to ensure safety and comfort.
- Get Them Moving – Although exercise is far from a magic cure for depression, it can help a great deal in managing the symptoms. A care professional can plan an exercise routine that is appropriate for the senior’s level of mobility.
- Keep Things In Order – The space around you can have a big effect on your mood. Keeping the house clean and organized can do a lot to help lift a senior’s spirits.
- Manage Medication – If the senior has been prescribed medication for depression, a care worker can make sure the senior takes it.
- Socialize – Sometimes, a sympathetic ear is all it takes to get through a difficult day. Compassionate care workers will take time to engage seniors in conversation and give them a shoulder to cry on.
Does Your Elderly Family Member Have Depression?
If you’ve noticed your senior loved one showing signs of isolation and depression, it may be time to connect with an at-home care agency.
Home care starts with a conversation. But how do you broach the subject? Many families aren’t sure where to begin.
As stated in the Right At Home home care agency’s Right Conversations guide, not everyone feels comfortable initiating a conversation about at-home care. However, the agency offers the following practical tips:
- Go into the conversation with accurate, relevant information about your loved one’s condition.
- Decide how much concern the situation warrants.
- Review the facts and avoid your personal biases. Understand that there may be personal feelings involved, but that the conversation shouldn’t be about judgement.
- Involve the rest of your family. It’s important that the person’s other relatives understand how serious the situation is an have their opportunity to speak. It’s possible they have information you don’t have.
- Plan the conversation out in advance, with realistic goals and key messages.
There are other tips available on the Right At Home home care