Grief can have a significant and lasting impact on the emotional wellbeing of aging adults. Understanding the signs of serious and prolonged depression can help family caregivers in Westfield take necessary action to support and protect their elderly loved ones after the loss of someone close has occurred. While the normal grieving process can have a significant impact on a senior’s emotions, extreme depression and sorrow leading to physical or mental illness may require intervention.
Decreased Appetite Due to Depression
A persistent lack of appetite is often a sign of depression caused by grief. Although your loved one might not feel like eating, prolonged depression resulting in significant weight loss or interfering with his or her medication schedule should be brought to the attention of a doctor. Counseling services and other forms of intervention can be used to help your loved one work through the difficult stages of grieving so depression does not have a lasting impact on his or her nutrition or physical health.
Inability or Unwillingness to Practice Basic Self-Care
Depression also tends to deplete a person’s energy. Seniors rarely feel like being active or social immediately after the loss of someone close. While your loved one should have plenty of time and opportunity to process the death of a friend or family member, he or she should be encouraged to avoid self-imposed isolation and neglect of basic self-care. Much like marked and extended changes in appetite, depression and malaise affecting your loved one’s ability to take care of his or her own basic needs should be brought to the attention of a doctor.
Increased Anxiety Regarding Mortality
It is important to note loss often makes seniors confront their own mortality. While losing a loved one can make a person feel depressed all on its own, being forcibly reminded of his or her own mortality can have a major impact on your loved one’s emotional wellbeing. This experience can also leave your loved one feeling anxious about being alone or becoming burdensome to you or other family members providing at-home care in Westfield. Talking with your loved one about his or her feelings can help him or her work through these difficult, yet common emotions.
Interference with Cognitive Functioning
Stress, depression, and anxiety can all affect the body and its various systems. This can lead to temporary and even lasting changes in cognitive abilities, including difficulty with memory and an increased inability to focus on challenging tasks. Offering your loved one additional care and support as he or she works through the stages of grief is often vital for ensuring an acceptable quality of life is maintained. This is especially important if your loved one is aging in place, as he or she is at a greater risk of experiencing isolation.
Having a companion available for emotional support can help many seniors through the grieving process. Consider hiring a professional caregiver from Home Care Assistance. In addition to providing compassionate companionship, our caregivers can assist your loved one with a wide variety of daily tasks such as grooming, meal preparation, and cognitive stimulation. For more information on part-time and 24-hour care Westfield families trust, call one of our qualified Care Managers today at 908.450.9400.