[year] Mental Health Care: Full Guidance On Recognizing The Hidden Signs Of Depression And How To Find Professional Treatment


When your parents become the ones who need help, it can be difficult to deal with. Added to any ongoing health concerns, it can quickly become a stressful situation. The best way to help your aging parents is to be observant and take action when necessary. A common but often-overlooked health issue in aging adults is depression. Approximately 20 million Americans will suffer from clinical depression in a given year, many of whom are among the elderly.

Causes

While we often think of depression being a problem of teenagers and young adults, it’s prevalent in seniors as well and can be triggered by several things:

Job Loss

  • Whether your parent is laid off or has retired, no longer having a job can trigger symptoms of depression, leading to feelings of uselessness or a lack of purpose.

Sexual Dysfunction

  • Both age and illness can contribute to a lack of sexual drive or function.

Empty Nest Syndrome

  • For parents, caring for children is a huge part of life. When the children no longer need them, depression can set in. This tends to be more prevalent in women than men, as they are often the primary caregivers.

Illness

  • Many age-related illnesses can lead to depression as a symptom of the disease.

Financial Stress

  • Many seniors run into financial problems, especially when accompanied by unexpected illness and medical bills.

Menopause

  • The hormonal changes associated with menopause can bring about depression.

Symptoms

Dealing with any of the above-mentioned issues does not necessarily mean a senior will be clinically diagnosed as depressed, but it’s a good idea to watch for the common signs.

The main differences between depression and a simple case of the blues are severity and duration. True depression is persistent and long-lasting. You should be concerned if your parent’s daily life is disrupted by feelings of sadness and if the symptoms last longer than several days. Watch for the following signs:

  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Changes in eating habits, eating too little or too much
  • Inability to sleep or oversleeping
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Frequent crying
  • Thoughts of death
  • Sad or empty feelings
  • Feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Trouble making decisions or focusing on a task
  • Chronic pains including headache, cramps, or indigestion
  • Loss of interest in activities, hobbies, or friends

To observe the possible warning signs of depression, you or a caretaker must spend plenty of time with your parent. If your mom or dad receives elderly care at home, be sure to discuss the symptoms with their health care worker so they can be on the lookout as well.

Remedies

If you suspect depression in a parent, it’s crucial to spend time with them. Whether your parent lives at home or in assisted living, it’s essential to be aware of their mental health. Spend time with your mom or dad, talk to them, ask them questions, and above all, don’t be afraid to raise the topic of depression if you have concerns.

Talking

Mental illness can be a taboo subject with many people, especially seniors, but you need to get them talking. Start a conversation and address your concerns. If you feel mom or dad should see a doctor, bring that up as well. They may be resistant at first, but they may come around if you demonstrate how concerned you are for their health. Reassure them that you don’t think they’re crazy and you have no plans to make them move into assisted living housing if those are their worries.

If, on the other hand, you and your parents have been considering assisted living programs for a move, this is also a good time to talk through any concerns regarding depression. A move could either be beneficial or harmful. You need to discuss it fully to determine what is best for mom or dad.

Depression at Senior Care Facilities

Some studies have found that there are high numbers of seniors in retirement communities suffering from clinical depression and that most of them are undiagnosed and untreated. This should be a major concern if you have any suspicions about your parent’s mental health, but it does not mean that this type of living arrangement has to be ruled out.

If you’re looking for a home for your parent, be sure to ask questions about how they deal with depression in residents. You can ask if they screen residents regularly and whether or not there is a mental health professional on staff. You should also tour several facilities and try to get a sense of the general feeling of the place. It should feel bright, cheerful, and clean. The residents should, for the most part, look happy and content. The workers should also seem happy and not glum. All of these things contribute to the well-being of residents.

What are the common causes for depression among seniors?

Job Loss
• Whether your parent is laid off or has retired, no longer having a job can trigger symptoms of depression, leading to feelings of uselessness or a lack of purpose.
Sexual Dysfunction
• Both age and illness can contribute to a lack of sexual drive or function.
Empty Nest Syndrome
• For parents, caring for children is a huge part of life. When the children no longer need them, depression can set in. This tends to be more prevalent in women than men, as they are often the primary caregivers.
Illness
• Many age-related illnesses can lead to depression as a symptom of the disease.
Financial Stress
• Many seniors run into financial problems, especially when accompanied by unexpected illness and medical bills.
Menopause
• The hormonal changes associated with menopause can bring about depression.

What Medicare and Medicaid Cover for Mental Health?

There is a huge limit on what Medicare covers as far as behavioral health claims are concerned. Any psychotherapy visit might have as much as a fifty percent co-payment. Also, coverage for prescription drugs is poor, and there is usually either very little or no coverage for home health care. Medicare also only covers sudden flare-ups and does not cover long-term care for a patient who is suffering from an extended psychiatric illness. Because of these limitations, seniors often have to pay large out-of-pocket expenses to get help for their mental health concerns.

Medicaid is even more complicated than Medicare. On the one hand, it helps people who do not make a lot of money. On the other hand, Medicaid coverage can be complicated because eligibility rules vary from state to state. Given that Medicaid is a program covered jointly by both federal and each state (with states shouldering approximately 50% of the costs), what ends up happening is that each state is given incredible power to cover costs at its discretion.

What this means is that each state can individually determine who is eligible for their services, and what they will or will not cover. Medicaid rates tend to cover considerably less than private insurance companies

What To Read Next?

✅ Ideas for seniors in financial trouble

✅ Home improvement & remodeling for the retirement home

✅ Help for seniors with disabilities and special needs

✅ How can you be at peace with others?

✅ What to do when feeling bored and lonely?

✅ How to stay mentally and physically healthy for older adults?

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