Senior Blues: 5 Ways to Combat Senior Depression in Assisted Living Homes

In the United States, about 68% of adults aged 65 and older know almost nothing about depression. But approximately 7 million seniors struggle with depression each year.

Elderly people who struggle with depression and anxiety should know there’s a solution. Even seniors in assisted living facilities have options in terms of coping strategies.

Here are some ways to combat crippling depression in assisted living homes.

How to Help

Transitioning from independent living to an assisted living home can be difficult. If you notice signs of depression or anxiety in your loved one, the following solutions can help remedy the problem.

1. See a Doctor

A medical doctor or a therapist can help get to the root of the depression and anxiety. Talking it out will do wonders and getting medication can help with recovery.

Take all medication as prescribed by the doctor and don’t stop even if you think you’re getting better or it’s not working. Depression medication for the elderly can help improve their mood by raising their serotonin levels.

2. Keep them Engaged

Staying in an assisted living home can cause the elderly to become withdrawn. They’re used to living on their own in their own home, so transitioning to an unfamiliar facility can be shocking.

Encourage them to participate in group activities that they enjoyed before moving to the assisted living home. By participating in the community, they will be meeting new people and exposing themselves to new leisurely activities.

If you’re still worried about their social life, visit often so you know they’ll have someone to talk to. A familiar face will surely improve their mood.

3. Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle

Make sure your loved one is eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting exercise. If they are able to walk, join them for walks. If they can’t, even arm movement is engaging and can get their heart pumping.

Having an exercise partner can also help stave off feelings of loneliness that can contribute to depression.

Getting a good amount of exercise during the day can help them sleep better at night. Getting more sleep can help regulate the body’s dopamine levels.

4. Find a New Hobby

Volunteering, caring for a pet, getting crafty, and gardening are all popular hobbies with seniors. Assisted living homes even encourage seniors to participate in their home’s community.

Taking part in one of these hobbies gives seniors a sense of purpose as well as something to look forward to every day. Additionally, it can lower stress levels and help release serotonin in the brain.

5. Encourage them to Befriend Staff Members

Having a staff member they trust will make their time in the assisted living home more enjoyable.

Not only will this add to their social life, it will also ensure they have someone to go to when they have a problem. They’ll be able to stay in the loop about community events and brainstorm ideas for new activities within the assisted living home.

Correcting Crippling Depression

Elderly people with medical conditions and deceased spouses make up a large portion of the elderly population with crippling depression. This doesn’t mean developing anxiety and depression is normal for seniors.

For more information on assisted living homes, contact us.

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