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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Monday, December 06, 2010



For the elderly, the holiday season can trigger a mourning period for the spouses, siblings and friends who are no longer here. When should you be concerned about an elderly loved one’s emotional state? How can you tell the difference between “holiday blues” and serious depression?

“Recognizing depression in older individuals is not easy,” says Patricia Grace, CEO of Aging with Grace, “but at the same time, depression is a matter that should be taken seriously.” Grace offers these tips for recognizing depression in the elderly:
1. Blues are normal – and temporary. It is normal to feel subdued, reflective and sad this time of the year. A person who is sad or anxious around the holidays can, in most cases, continue to carry on with regular activities. Such feelings are generally temporary and the individual eventually returns to his or her normal state of mind.
2. Depression interferes with every day activities. A clinically depressed person suffers from symptoms that interfere with his or her ability to function in everyday life. There are often feelings of diminished self-esteem or excessive feelings of guilt. The person may show little interest in his or her own welfare and little interest in doing things that in the past-brought pleasure. “If a person is very sad for more than a month and starts having problems with sleep, normal activities, appetite, maintaining their weight, then they might be clinically depressed and should see a physician for treatment,” advises Grace.
3. Understand the generational differences. The current population of older Americans came of age at a time when depression was not recognized as a biological illness and may be unwilling to discuss their feelings. “Those who are depressed may fear their illness will be seen as a character flaw,” says Grace.
4. Take symptoms as seriously you would any other health issue. The signs of depression – increased tiredness, loss of appetite, mood swings – are often seen as a normal part of aging. They aren’t. “Depression is not a natural part of aging,” says Grace, “When clinically depressed, an elderly person may lose the will to live, complicating existing health conditions.”
5. You can help. Spending time with a loved one, listening to their stories, and sharing family memories are the best gifts you can give an older individual. Use holiday time together to keep your eyes and ears open for signs of depression in older relatives.

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