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What Are the Signs of Depression in Memory Care Residents?

What Are the Signs of Depression in Memory Care Residents?

If you or the senior in your life are experiencing memory loss problems as a result of Alzheimer’s or dementia, you may have spent some time feeling depressed already without knowing it.

This is a common symptom of any kind of memory loss. Oftentimes, the symptoms of memory loss can also look a lot like the symptoms of depression, which might make it difficult to diagnose one or the other condition. It may also be difficult to know if your loved one is experiencing depression since they may refuse help. However, treatment is available, and it will significantly increase their mental health.

Signs of Depression in Memory Care Residents

Here are three signs of depression in memory care residents and three ways the team at Solterra Senior Living fights back against it:

1. Trouble Concentrating

Maybe it’s more difficult to do regular things that they had previously been able to do without thinking, such as changing the channel on the TV or reading a novel. Maybe they’re having difficulty making decisions, like what to eat for dinner or what clothes to wear.

2. Apathy

It’s natural for someone to go through different interests and hobbies throughout their lives. Moving from one hobby to another is something everyone can expect. However, if you suddenly find it difficult to dredge up interest in one or more hobbies you once loved, you could suffer from depression.

3. Social Withdrawal

Experiencing isolation and loneliness is a major condition that is especially bad for seniors, yet they often experience it more often than younger people. Maybe you or your senior lost a loved one, such as a longtime significant other. Maybe it’s simply more difficult to leave the house due to age or mobility issues. Even if they want to spend more time with people, it’s simply more difficult to alleviate this symptom of depression, making fighting depression seem insurmountable.

Noticing the signs of depression is the first step to treating it. Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list, so make sure that you observe the problems and symptoms they’re experiencing and urge them to speak with a professional to get them the help they need. Sometimes folks who are experiencing depression are reluctant to accept treatment, either because they believe their issues “aren’t that bad” or that they’ll “snap out of it.” This is especially true of older Americans; talking about their mental health might be an alien concept, considering the commonly held view of “pulling oneself up by their bootstraps” and “just getting over it.”

Benefits of Moving to a Memory Community

However, once the senior in your life moves into a memory care community, help is at their fingertips. Here are three ways in which the staff and personnel at Chandler memory care can help a senior who has depression:

1. Social Interaction

When you are living in an assisted living or memory care community, it is much easier to find a friend to spend time with (or to make a new friend). Not only are there plenty of common areas to spend time in, such as the game room, dining room, and library, but there are also regular social events such as movie nights, ice cream socials and other food tastings, and day trips and outings. If you’re interested in a particular activity, why not make a day of it, such as getting a few friends together for a round of golf, or a movie, or a shopping trip? Humans are social creatures, and spending time with people is what creates connections, which keeps our minds sharp and our spirits up.

In addition, you will look forward to classes and activities with your community members. If you’re interested in art, music, or even exercising, there’s something for everyone. 

2. Exercise

If you’re suffering from depression, even gentle exercise will go a long way to making you feel better. When you get active, you can expect to reduce stress hormones, improve your sleep, and make better decisions about your health. If you just spent 30 minutes on that walk or attended an exercise class, you’ll likely make a positive food choice when you go to your next meal, including more whole foods and veggies and fewer sugary snacks or desserts.

Exercise will also distract you from negative thoughts and promote a sense of calm. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin promote a sense of well-being and happiness.

Maybe you’re not feeling up to a full-on run or lifting the heaviest weights in the gym. After all, if you’re living in assisted living or memory care, you may not feel confident about sticking to a routine. The important thing is to start small. Maybe you can go on a short walk every morning before or after breakfast. A walk outside is ideal – something about being out of doors boosts those serotonin levels even further! Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s something you enjoy. If you decide to walk up and down stairs for exercise but hate stair climbing, your new habit won’t last long.

3. Talk Therapy

Seniors may dislike this option, but hear us out. They may view therapy as annoying or unhelpful, but studies have shown that talk therapy is helpful no matter the stage of life. In fact, seniors with dementia – including Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, and Parkinson’s – who attend talk therapy tend to have significantly reduced rates of depression and anxiety. There is no cure for these conditions, but lifestyle choices such as attending therapy to talk about your concerns, worries, and fears can help alleviate some of the worst symptoms. In fact, in a study that took place between 2012 and 2019, researchers found that participants with dementia over the age of 65 had significantly higher success rates than their younger counterparts.Look no further than Solterra Senior Living in Chandler, Arizona, for your memory loss care community needs. Contact us today for a tour to show you the difference we can make in your life!