Depression in seniors with cognitive impairment often goes overlooked. Sometimes a change in behavior or mood is attributed to cognitive decline instead of depression. However, seniors with cognitive impairment can experience depression-like people of any other age. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or prior mental health history. Identifying and treating the problem early can help prevent it from taking a toll on a senior’s quality of life. If you have a senior loved one with cognitive impairment, identifying the signs of depression is important. These are five of the most common signs you should be looking for.
Change in mood
One of the primary symptoms of depression in seniors is a low mood. This disorder can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness. For some seniors with cognitive impairment, it can also cause anxiety, anger, or irritability.
Everyone’s mood fluctuates from day to day. But a low mood lasting longer than two weeks may be a sign of depression, and a medical professional should be consulted.
Feelings of guilt
Guilt is another common sign of depression in seniors with cognitive impairment. Many have overwhelming negative thoughts and an inner voice that constantly criticizes them. As a result, they may feel guilty for making small mistakes or having to ask for help.
Guilt prevents seniors from reaching out for help when they don’t believe they deserve support. They may not express feelings of guilt and can struggle with this for a long time before receiving the treatment they need.
Depressed seniors often withdraw from friends and family. They may spend more time in their room than they once did and avoid interacting with others even if they are usually very social.
Seniors with cognitive impairment who are depressed can believe their loved ones don’t want to see them, leading them to avoid contact. They are also isolated because of low energy and motivation.
Withdrawal from their usual activities
Depressed seniors often lose interest in their hobbies and favorite activities. The things that brought value and purpose to their life no longer seem appealing. This can be caused by the loss of energy that accompanies depression, along with the chronic feelings of hopelessness and emptiness that become disabling.
Depression can also make it difficult for seniors with cognitive impairment to complete their activities of daily living, such as hygiene, chores, paying bills, or other routine tasks. While it may appear to be happening because of cognitive decline, it can also be caused by depression.
Change in sleep habits
Sleeping far more or far less than normal is common in seniors with depression. It can also be caused by medication side effects, chronic illness, or other physical health factors. If there are no obvious explanations, your loved one may be struggling with depression.
Depression in seniors with cognitive impairment can be more difficult to detect because it can be difficult for them to gather their thoughts and express to you how they’re feeling. This makes it all the more important to know the signs of depression.
The caregivers at HomeChoice Home Care Solutions have experience working with seniors with depression and cognitive impairment. They are patient and compassionate, and love providing companionship and care for seniors in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Chapel Hill, and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to schedule your free in-home care assessment. We’ll help you decide what type of care is needed and provide you with a no-obligation quote. We look forward to helping you and your family.