Saint Paul, Minnesota
275 East 4th Street, Suite 345, Saint Paul, MN 55101
(651) 796-2540
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4 Tips for Supporting Seniors Living with Depression

Comfort Keepers In-Home Care in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Often due to declining physical health conditions, isolation, loss of a loved one, or other meaningful life changes, depression is a common illness among seniors, but is not a normal part of aging. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7 million American adults over the age of 65 experience depression each year. Identifying the signs of depression in seniors is not always apparent, especially if they live in isolation. Some of the most common symptoms of depression in seniors include loss of concentration, forgetfulness, sadness, fatigue, digestive issues, changes in sleep patterns, and loss of appetite. It is crucial that these symptoms are identified as early as possible so that an individual can get the professional support they need. Family or external caregivers should also be aware of these common signs so they can identify and address changes in behavior. 

Depression can impact anyone and can be challenging to overcome without help. 

For seniors dealing with depression; support, resources, and understanding are important. Here are 4 tips for supporting seniors who may be experiencing depression. 

Partnering with a Professional In-Home Care Service

A professional in-home care service, such as Comfort Keepers, can help provide at regular interval companionship, nutrition, and daily living support for seniors. This can help identify episodes of depression, or keep older adults engaged and active to help stave off feelings of isolation. Many in-home care agencies within the Twin Cities provide on-going training for caregivers to identify the warning signs of depression, and caregivers maintain detailed notes about their visits to help identify if there is a pattern of behavior that could indicate a senior may be experiencing bouts of depression. 

Professional in-home care can also be beneficial for family caregivers (respite care) and/or loved ones who are geographically unable to provide care themselves. It is important to remember that seniors suffering from depression may require more care than those who are not dealing with the illness, and while in-home care is a tremendous support it does not eliminate the need for care by a medical professional. 

Learn more about Comfort Keepers Senior Care in the Twin Cities

Introduce Community Resources 

There are many resources available for seniors living with depression in and around the Twin Cities, and the abundance of outdoor public space can create refreshing opportunities to quite literally get a change of scenery. The Minnesota Department of Human Services provides a robust list of online and offline support resources for seniors experiencing depression, and the Senior Linkage Line, a service of the Minnesota Board on Aging in partnership with Minnesota's area agencies on aging, can take your phone calls live Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m at 800-333-2433.

Encourage Social Interaction 

A report published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) claims that one-fourth of seniors, aged 65 and older, are considered socially isolated. Isolation has become even more prevalent amid the COVID-19 pandemic due to visitor restrictions and related health concerns. Unfortunately, isolation has been proven to lead to higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.

Encouraging social interaction is an important step that a caregiver can take to help a senior with depression, and in today’s environment we’ve learned that it can take a little more creativity and planning to make it happen. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there are safe opportunities, both offline and online, for seniors to remain engaged with others. A professional in-home care agency partner has caregivers well-trained in the latest COVID-19 protocols to provide safe in-person engagement. Family caregivers can also explore companionship services, introduce new hobbies, teach them how to safely use a computer or smartphone for digital connections, or increase the amount of time they visit.

Remain Calm and Patient 

Symptoms of depression can manifest in many different ways, and swings in mood or behavior can no doubt be frustrating for family caregivers and other loved ones. Depression is an illness that changes the way a senior feels, thinks, and acts. It will require meaningful action to help your senior loved one get the help and support they need, and being patient, taking regular breaks, and using respite care service when it is most needed can help you help them. 

Comfort Keepers® Can Help

Comfort Keepers, serving the Twin Cities, has helped many seniors remain independent in the comfort of their own home. Professional in-home care is not a substitute for mental health support, but can provide a senior with regularly scheduled companionship, help around the home, bathing and hygiene support, transportation, and more. Caregivers at Comfort Keepers are also experienced in watching for the signs of depression to present, and importantly, how to communicate any concerns to the Comfort Keepers office, and ultimately to family or family support partners. 

Supporting Seniors with Depression