When was the last time you experienced depression? Just about everyone will be able to recognize what certain depressive symptoms can feel like. This doesn’t mean every single person in the United States has dealt with clinical depression because that is something else, but depressive symptoms or mild depression can be caused by stress, anxiety, changes in a relationship, the loss of a job, and much more.
When a person has been hospitalized, especially as they get older, the risk of depression can increase. That’s because they may believe every aspect of their life has suddenly changed. They might not see how it’s possible to return to their normal routine or activities they used to enjoy.
It’s important that people don’t diagnose themselves or family members.
If depression is significant, if it is prolonged, if the elderly person refuses to get out of bed or even exercise and follow their doctor’s instructions, if they don’t answer the phone, accept visitors, or is exhibiting other serious behaviors like this, they should be encouraged to consult their doctor for proper diagnosis.
Some depressive symptoms could be the result of side effects from prescription medications and there may be some simple things that can be done to help control these mental aspects. Other depressive symptoms could be the result of a change in life, limited mobility, or a dramatic change in their physical capabilities.
How can depression affect recovery?
As mentioned, if an elderly person is not taking part in the recovery process because they don’t see the point, don’t see the value in suffering for days, weeks, or even months in physical therapy, exercise, or even changing their diet because they don’t see how they can possibly return to the things they used to enjoy, it can slow down or even sabotage recovery completely.
This dramatically increases the chances he or she will end up in the hospital before long. A hospital readmission is technically considered anytime somebody is readmitted within 30 days of their discharge. Regardless of whether it happens in 20 days, 40 days, or 60 days, if it is avoidable, and it still happens, it can be considered tragic.
Family and friends might get frustrated, they may feel powerless, but whatever’s going on, they should continue to offer positive support, encouragement, reinforcement, and advise the senior to go back to their doctor.
Could a home care aide help in this type of situation? Very likely because of the experience that caregiver would have working with other seniors in very similar situations, but ultimately if an elderly person is unwilling to take part in recovery, there’s little family or others can do to make a difference.
Angel Alliance Caregivers of Galloway, NJ is dedicated to helping seniors maintain full, independent lives where they most desire to live: in the comfort of their own homes. Call us at (609) 965-0028.
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