About two-thirds of the elderly individuals in our country that experience depression do not seek any sort of treatment for it. That’s information revealed in a recent survey by the GeneSight Mental Health Monitor. And although this is a disturbing statistic, it carries a lot of validity behind it. Of those that don’t seek out any treatment, many of them believe that they will “snap out of it” and get back to normal without any sort of help or guidance.
COVID-19 has made mental health issues more severe than ever before. Many that had never experienced depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses find that they are currently struggling with this. It makes complete sense that this would happen; our lives have been turned upside down in the past year. People have been cut off from loved ones, they’ve lost jobs, and their access to care has been diminished. Emotional struggle is a perfectly normal response to this.
But that doesn’t make this easy. It doesn’t make depression any less of a serious issue. And seniors are in a particularly vulnerable situation. This is a population that is already prone to isolation and mental health issues as a result of that isolation. And, because they are also not as likely as younger individuals to be treated for mental health, a perfect storm of complexities and complications is brewing for many senior citizens.
Recognition is the first step toward alleviating depression. A diagnosis needs to be made by a medical professional, but you can observe warning signs at home.
Depression comes in a variety of forms, some of them more serious than others. But even though some forms of depression are not as serious as others, none of them should ever be ignored. Minor mental health issues can turn into major mental health issues if left unchecked. This doesn’t always require the intervention of a medical or mental health professional, but it does require a change to occur so that the person suffering can stay safe and healthy.
Depression isn’t always manifested as a feeling of “being sad.” It comes with a lack of energy, sleeping too much, not sleeping enough, changes in weight and appetite, and even chronic pain. If you have a loved one that is suffering from one or more of these things, it is probably worthwhile to have them speak with a doctor. This is a conversation that needs to be delicate. Because seniors are reluctant to seek out mental health treatment, you will want to use some tact when talking about this.
As with any other medical condition, be sure to speak with a doctor if you have concerns about mental health in a loved one or yourself. They will be able to point you in the right direction. And if we can be of assistance by helping your family get connected with senior care that provides a higher degree of customization and socialization than other types of care, please let us know. We’d love to help your family get the care and attention that they deserve. Even if you’re unsure of where to start, our free consultation service can be a good way to learn more about care and how it can complement your family’s unique situation.