You are “elderly”.  Your spouse of 50 years has died, your children are married and busy with their families and several have moved out of state to find jobs.  Most of your friends have either died or moved out of the area to be closer to their children. Neither you nor your few remaining friends continue to drive and taking the bus is just too difficult.  You don’t understand or want to be bothered with I-Pads, I-Phones, computers or e-mail.   Listening to the news on television these days is far too depressing, plus you are losing your hearing and the eyesight isn’t that great either.  So you sit alone day after day, wishing someone would call or come to visit or say they care.  Is it any wonder you are depressed?


Sadly, this is the fate of many of us in our later years.  As our health fails, it becomes more difficult to venture outside our four walls and discover new environments.  Plus our families are concerned about our wandering off.  In many cases, the children have convinced their parents to sign their assets over to them in order to preserve their estate or have them not have to worry about finances.  Often, the elderly are no longer able to handle their own finances and need help. 


So, the elderly person sits alone day after day.  Meals on Wheels delivers food at lunch time and again, lunch is eaten alone.  Sure, the children take turns calling and have a prearranged schedule of visiting when it is convenient to them.  But the days drag on.


Then one day, the children have a family conference where they decide Mom or Dad would be better off in a “facility”.  After all, there would be 24 hour care, nutritious meals would be prepared, they could make new friends, and there would be lots of activities to participate in like Bingo.  And so, off you go to assisted living which is paid for by selling your home and donating all the things that were so dear to you to charity.  This is the fate of so many in their waning years.  Depression among the elderly is a major concern.1.


Symptoms of depression include feeling sad, hopeless, cranky, nervous, or guilty for no reason, fatigue, digestive issues, aches and pains, eating too much or too little, loss of concentration or memory, and lack of enjoyment in favorite pastimes.  Suicidal thoughts or attempts are also symptoms.  The suicide rate in people ages 80 – 84 is more than twice that of the general population.2.


The question is how can you help someone who is depressed?  First, offer support.  Be encouraging, patient and understanding.  Next, be a friend.  Invite them to spend time with you or visit them often.  Be optimistic.  Be cheerful.  Smile, encourage them to look on the bright side and be thankful for the family and friends they have.  Encourage them to be proud of their family.  Encourage them to share memories of what they have done and what life was like when they were younger.  Give them a purpose to go on living.  In the few cases where you suspect medical depression or suicidal thoughts, talk to your loved one’s doctor.3.


One of the services we at Home Assist Senior Care provide is companion care.  We can provide caregivers to come to your loved one’s home as often as necessary to provide nutritious meals and talk with them as they are preparing the meal.  They will then have companionship as they eat.  They will have someone to talk to, someone who will be interested in listening to their stories about growing up and their past life.  Our caregivers can also do light housekeeping such as laundry, dusting, vacuuming and cleaning the kitchen and bathroom.  They can also shop for groceries to provide something special your loved one would enjoy.  This will make your life easier also, as you can now spend more time with your loved one rather than on household chores.  Give us a call.  We would be happy to meet with you and prepare a plan of care for your loved one.