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Depression in The Elderly

By Estee Bienstock, R.N.

(Page 3 of 4)
 

Caregiver skills that are important to nurturing our elderly patients with depression include:

  • LISTEN

  • Be patient

  • Acknowledge the sadness

  • Resist giving advice, but hone your listening skills

  • Do not pass judgment

  • Promote realistic expectations

Deteriorating health and advancing age present problems for the patient and their loved ones. Issues associated with depression can lead to family conflicts, even more isolation, financial strain, abuse of drugs or alcohol, and thoughts of suicide. Depression, left untreated, prevents elderly loved ones from enjoying life as they have in the past.

A strong support system is often helpful to both the caregiver and the senior person's well being. Find sources of help for caregiver tasks. Contact family, friends, neighbors, church/synagogue, workplace, Area Agency on Aging or other organizations. Keep looking!

Family physicians can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of the elderly and their caregivers. Family physicians can educate caregivers on behavioral management techniques and coping strategies. By providing the holistic approach to care for patients and caregivers, family physicians can help prepare families for the many phases of this challenging role and allow the patients to feel safe with their dignity left intact.

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