Understanding Geriatric Depression: Video and Tips for Caregivers

What does depression look like in those over 65 years of age? Baycrest Health Sciences’ Dr. Robert Madan sits down with Steve Paikin to explain how geriatric depression presents itself. Here is the short video and below we give some important tips to support our caregivers.

If you think an elderly friend or relative suffers from depression, look for these warning signs:

Withdrawal from society – avoiding social situations, even with close friends and relatives

Loss of self-regard – putting off personal grooming and proper hygiene

Increased irritability – sudden drastic changes in mood

Amplified physical pain – weakened immune system

Studies show that older adults who have suffered from a serious disease or are recovering from surgery experience episodes of sadness after they are discharged from the hospital.

Tips of Care-givers: What can you do to help?

  1. Keep them company – talk/listen. Simple but very effective. Compassion, empathy and sensitivity can go a long way in the treatment of elderly depression.
  2. Keep in mind that depression is an illness. As per the video, it is much more serious and damaging than grief or sadness. If you suspect that someone suffers from it, keep an eye out for the symptoms or warning signs mentioned above.
  3. Give them control. If you do things for them that they can do by themselves, you might strengthen their perception that they are helpless or incapable. As per the video, “people need a role” – volunteerism is often a solution. Non-profits, such as WTSS, is always in need of support with programs such as Meals on Wheels.

Our expert staff at WTSS are ready to answer any of your questions and concerns.

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