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September 25, 2018

Depression and the Elderly – Do You Know What to Look For?

The CDC estimates that as much as 5 percent of the elderly population suffer from a major depression. The number is higher for those with a chronic health condition or Alzheimer’s. Is your parent depressed? Do you even know what to look for?

Depression Lasts for Weeks

One of the key indicators of depression is that the symptoms go on for weeks and months. It’s not a day or two of sadness followed by a week of good days.

When the symptoms go on for a couple of months or include a suicide attempt, medical attention is needed. Don’t delay. Call your parent’s doctor and ask to be referred to a specialist in depression.

Sleeping Difficulties Are a Sign

Your mom or dad may seem tired and lacks energy and interest in normal activities. This lack of energy may tie to difficulties sleeping. Your parent may have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. If insomnia isn’t the issue, you may find your mom or dad sleeping far longer than necessary.

As sleep difficulties can be indicators of other illnesses, Alzheimer’s is one, it’s important to talk to a doctor. If insomnia or excessive sleep are tied to other symptoms like agitation, mood swings, persistent sadness, or appetite changes, it could be depression.

Lack of Interest in Normal Activities

Your mom loved to talk walks. She’s become housebound and won’t go outside. Your dad loved golfing, but he won’t go golfing anymore. You may find your parent staying home and refusing to see friends. Other signs include no longer enjoying favorite TV shows, taking long weekends at a favorite destination, or doing favorite hobbies.

Changes to the Appetite

With depression, some people overeat. They seek comfort from favorite foods. Weight gain can happen as the caloric intake increases. Others don’t eat at all. Weight loss occurs. Malnutrition can be a risk.

Along with appetite, your parent may develop digestive issues. Stomach acid may build up and cause discomforts like heartburn or intestinal cramps.

Medications and Therapy Are Common Treatments

Therapy and medications are two ways depression in the elderly is treated. If you’re not sure your parent is able to take medications without prompting, hire an elderly care professional. Caregivers can drive your mom or dad to follow-up appointments and therapy sessions.

They also offer companionship, which can help your mom or dad avoid feeling lonely or isolated. Call our elderly care agency to discuss other services that help with depression.


If you or an aging loved one are considering Elderly Care Services in St. Charles IL, please contact the caring staff at Big Hearts Home Care today! 

Matthew Calcagno

Matthew is a graduate of Robert Morris College and is a U.S. Navy veteran.Matthew founded Big Hearts Home Care after over a decade at HP. Spending time volunteering at his grandparent’s senior center inspired him to make a bigger difference in the quality of care seniors receive.His grandfather whom turned 100 in 2015 is still a major inspiration to him in seeing that service is provided with a family focused touch.

It is his passion and commitment to providing quality service that has awarded Big Hearts Home Care as Provider of Choice and Employer of Choice in the Chicagoland area. He believes that being an independently owned and operated company allows him the flexibility to manage the business in a way that better serves the clients.


"Helping people is what I was meant to do; it inspires and motivates me," Calcagno said. "I also get to help veterans - assisting them in the VA pension process and providing care for several in the area. This is what I love to do."

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