Good Healthcare Requires Treatment of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Good Healthcare Requires Treatment of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

Tips To Help Your Senior Family Member Fight Depression

by Hugh Larson

If you have hired a senior care aide to come to your home, then you have made the right decision to make sure that your parent or grandparent is well cared for. Physical well-being is likely your main concern, but many seniors typically become depressed as they age. The loss of friends, illness difficulties, memory problems, and even medication use can all cause depression symptoms. You can easily help your loved one with sadness and depression by using a few good suggestions that are listed below.

Ditch the Sugary Foods

Many people like to eat sugary treats and snacks during the day, and this sugar can provide your loved one with a quick boost of energy and an elevated mood.  Unfortunately, sugar causes blood sugar to both rise and fall quickly, and your family member may feel irritated, forgetful, or depressed when blood sugars drop.  This is the case because the body likes to maintain consistent blood sugar level, and constant dips cause the body to react negatively.

Some people also use sugar to self medicate, because sugars cause the brain to release serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and this serotonin can make your loved one feel contented. A short while after the sugar is consumed, serotonin levels drop and your loved one will likely feel depressed again.

Provide a More Balanced Diet

If you want your family member to feel content more regularly, then make sure to provide a variety of healthy foods. Both protein and sugars help to keep serotonin levels consistent, so make sure that you serve both protein rich foods and carbohydrates at meal time. Carbohydrates are made up of complex sugars, but they do not cause a spike in blood sugar. The foods must be broken down and this helps to release small amounts of sugar into the body over a longer period of time.

To supply mood enhancing foods, offer your loved one some turkey, tofu, nuts, or low-fat beef during mealtime. Pair these foods with whole grain rice, wheat crackers, potatoes, or bread.  

Invest in a Mobility Device

Many seniors become depressed when they feel as though they are no longer independent. This often occurs when a senior care aide is hired to help out with basic needs. If your loved one used to hike or take walks, then this may not be an option if an illness has caused a decrease in mobility and strength. Mobility devices can help keep your loved one independent, and a rollator is one of the best devices you can invest in.

Choose a Rollator

Rollators are walkers that have four wheels so the devices can be easily pushed along the ground. Most basic rollators are used in the home so that seniors do not have to pick up walkers to move them. Rollators are also created with hiking and walking in mind. These sporty devices have solid bases and large wheels with deep treads that allow them to navigate over grass, dirt, and rocks.  

The wheels are generally tube varieties that are inflated much like bicycle tires. This helps to absorb shock when the rollator is used so that your loved one can walk comfortably over uneven ground. Look for a rollator at your local medical supply store, and make sure to find a product with a seat if your loved one needs to take frequent breaks. 

Adopt a Pet

If your loved one has had to deal with grief and the loss of friends and relatives, then they may feel lonely. If you are often away at work, then you are unable to reduce loneliness due to your busy schedule. Senior care aides often fulfill a companionship role, but these individuals are unable to spend the entire day with your loved one. This means that your family member needs a companion, and a pet is a good option for this. 

Get a Dog

Dogs make great companions for elderly individuals, and pet ownership has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety. Dogs provide unconditional love and they help to distract people from negative thoughts. They also will force your family member to be more active, because walks will be required. Exercise has been shown to reduce depression as well, because the activity releases feel good endorphins in the brain.  

If you do decide to adopt a dog, just make sure that the animal is small. This will help to reduce injuries when the dog pulls on a leash or runs through the house. Also, consider finding a senior animal. These dogs will be far less active than younger pups, so your loved one does not become exhausted from all the attention that is required.

If you have recently decided to hire a senior care aide for your family member, then you know that your loved one will be cared for when you are away from home. Seniors do sometimes develop depression though, and this means you should work hard to alleviate emotional difficulties. This suggestions should help, and the senior care aide may also be able to offer some tips on how to help. 


About Me

Good Healthcare Requires Treatment of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

I have worked in a supportive role in the medical industry for over 20 years, and I have been amazed at the advances in medicine that have been made. While it is always great to hear about a new medication that helps cure a disease or a new surgical procedure that can help someone live a normal life again after an injury, I have been especially amazed at the research that has shown just how much our physical and mental health are connected. Since I keep on top of all of the amazing medical studies being performed and I know others are too busy to hunt them down themselves, I decided to start a blog to share my favorite health tips for keeping both your mind and body healthy.