Millions of individuals struggle with depression each year. When this condition affects a senior, family members watch them struggle, and it breaks their hearts. They want to do everything possible to help this person. For example, they may provide the senior with words of encouragement. However, there are many other things a person can do to help their loved one through this difficult time. 

Sleep Issues

Seniors who live alone often find it hard to get a good night’s sleep. They may worry that someone will come into the home. It might be that their spouse recently passed and they are finding it hard to sleep alone. At times, health issues interfere with their ability to get a good night’s sleep. Seniors need a regular sleep schedule, as sleeping difficulties can bring about depression or make it worse.

For those who struggle with a sleep disorder or sundowning, consider finding engaging activities for them or speak to their doctor about medications that may help them sleep. If they are in an assisted living community, ask staff members to monitor their sleep and provide information about their sleep habits. This helps the doctor determine if there is an underlying cause that can be treated. 

Socialization Opportunities

Loneliness and isolation can lead to depression. When a loved one appears to be depressed, try to get them around other people. Visits with friends and family members can help combat this depression. In addition, a senior might find moving to assisted living in Winston-Salem, NC, helps them overcome depression. They will be surrounded by others in similar situations and can talk about the challenges they face. The community will also provide them with activities to choose from, which helps to reduce loneliness and isolation. 

Research shows seniors who have an active social life benefit from better mental, emotional, and physical health. Speak with staff members in the community to learn whether the senior is interacting with other residents. If they aren’t, try to find ways to encourage them to do so. 

Make Them Feel Valued

A senior may feel they have lost their purpose in life. They no longer go to work every day, and their children are grown and gone. They don’t know how to fill their time. Help them find a hobby they can share with others. This gives them a sense of purpose and something to look forward to every day. In addition, they may find they can return to a hobby they previously gave up for some reason. 

A Healthy Diet

Many people don’t realize the foods they eat can help to combat depression. Provide the senior with fiber-rich foods along with lean protein. Many seniors don’t enjoy cooking for one, so they eat fast food or snacks rather than making a healthy meal. Look for independent living services that provide meals, as this ensures the senior gets a well-balanced diet that will promote physical and emotional health. When choosing foods for the senior, look for those that contain minimal sugar, starch, and unhealthy fats. 

Give Them Chores

Seniors who live by themselves often fall into a negative pattern of thinking. Provide them with responsibility and they will get a boost. Consider providing them with a dog, as a pet gives them responsibility and provides companionship. The pet helps keep them physically active. When they go outside, they will also meet people, as the dog serves as a conversation opener. Another option is to provide them with a plant they must care for. 

Physical Activity

Seniors need activity to stay healthy, not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. Have them enroll in an exercise class or take part in activities provided by their community. This is also a great way for them to make new friends with similar interests. 

Manage Their Medications

People of all ages forget to take their medication or take a double dose. They get into a routine and assume they have already taken it or think they forgot it that day. Help seniors manage their medications. There are many tools designed for this purpose. The pills can be divided up by day so the seniors can easily open a container and see if they have taken their medications. This also allows the family to see if the medications are being taken as intended. 

These are only a few of many ways to encourage a senior through words and actions. Make them feel as if they are an important part of family life, as every person wants to feel needed. Seniors often lose this feeling when their spouse is gone and their children have lives and families of their own. With some simple steps, a family can overcome this feeling and help provide their loved ones with a high quality of life. 

About Heritage Woods Senior Living:

Heritage Woods Senior Living takes pride in being the sole full-service senior living community in the area. Residents feel right at home when they choose to spend their senior years with us.