The Physical Signs of Elderly Depression

Throughout this week, we’ve discussed the various aspects of elderly depression, from a brief overview (i.e. the physical effects, suicide rates, and the importance of addressing such issues), to the causes of depression.

Understanding the causes of your loved ones circumstance is only one part of understanding depression. In some instances, a parent may be able to hide their depression, requiring you to do a little detective work. So, to finish off this weeks guide, we’re going talk about a few signs that may indicate that your loved is depressed. Take a look below:

Physical Symptoms

As we’ve mentioned throughout this weeks guide, depression can be much more than a mental affliction. Because physical symptoms of depression can often be persistent, your parent may experience chronic pain or discomfort.

As such, it is important to take into account your loved ones physical health and to not rule out depression as a cause otherwise, such symptoms may not be properly treated.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the physical symptoms, which may indicate that your loved one has depression (adapted from WebMD):

  • Headaches, dizziness or lightheadedness. Headaches are perhaps the most common physical symptom of depression. Along with headaches, your loved one may experience dizziness or lightheadedness, which can increase the likelihood of serious injury from falling.
  • Back pain, muscle aches and joint pain. Along with causing chronic pain, depression may also heighten pain and discomfort caused by other health problems. If you loved one has back pain, muscle aches, or joint pain, it’s very possible that depression isn’t the cause but too many people don’t even consider it as a possibility when they see physical pain.
  • Chest pain.  Chest pain can also be a sign of depression. However, anyone experiencing chest pain should receive medical assistance immediately, as it may be a sign of serious heart, stomach, lung or other problems.
  • Change in appetite or weight. Your loved one may also have a change in appetite or weight. Whether your parent is gaining or losing weight, extreme fluctuations in weight and appetite can be a sign that your parent is depressed.
  • Digestive problems. Body changes caused by depression (i.e. drastic weight changes) can result in digestive problems as well. This may lead to digestive problems, such as diarrhea or constipation. In regards to diarrhea, be aware of your pars fluid intake, as it may lead to dehydration.
  • Exhaustion and fatigue. Another common symptom of depression is the feeling of exhaustion or fatigue. If your loved one finds it difficult to get out of bed in the morning or do daily task that they normally can do, they may be experiencing depression.
  • Sleeping problems. Along with exhaustion and fatigue, many people with depression may have difficulty sleeping or experience an imbalanced sleep cycle.

Check back on Monday to see our post on the mental signs of elderly depression, as well as the second part of our guide on Depression in the Elderly, which we will cover over the rest of the week. In the mean time, if you have any questions or concerns about your loved one, please feel free to give us a call. We’re here to help.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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