How To Help Seniors With Depression

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Whether you are a caretaker, a loved one, or a senior yourself, you can understand how difficult it can be to have depression at the later stages of life. Something that often goes under the radar because of the similar symptoms it has with the many diseases common in old age is also something that is entirely treatable. Just by learning the warning signs, you can help someone who is battling their inner demons all alone.

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What Is Depression

Depression is a medical condition that alters your state of mind that needs more than just medicine to be cured. Though using cannabidiol (CBD) can help a lot of the symptoms and can eventually help cure depression, it would be a lot easier with help from a caregiver or loved one.

Some can go their entire lives without experiencing it, and then develop it when they are older. It can come from grieving the death of a loved one, extreme change that can cause fear or confusion, and is a symptom in many diseases that come about in older adults.

Depression is more than just feeling sad, it is like having a dark veil over everything in your life. Pain is stronger, nothing matters, and there is no ounce of energy to try to change anything. It can be especially hard to break out of it when the person battling depression is doing it on their own.

Seniors Are Unaware They Have Depression

Depression is one of the most common disorders that older adults face. And it is one they often fight alone, unaware that they are actually depressed. This generation grew up in a thick stigma around mental illness, and not a lot was known or even accepted. Luckily, we are coming into a time where we finally realize just how important mental health is.

―I didn’t know anything about depression, so I didn’t know I was depressed. … The questionnaire was essential to getting me in for treatment. It was sent to me three times before I sent it back. I took medication and went to a class that helped me learn skills to work on the depression. … I now have two friends getting treatment for depression since I told them about my situation.‖      — Participant in a depression care management program (CDC, 2009a)

Out of the 39 million adults over the age of 65, seven million of them are battling depression. Depression in the elderly goes unnoticed often times, but it is extremely easy to detect. One of the best things we can do for our loved ones is look out for the signals and then suggest getting help.

Depression In Seniors Is Easy To Spot But Hard To Identify

Depression comes with a long list of mental symptoms, but it can also harm your physical health as well. These symptoms, however, are often hidden behind causations of other illnesses. Considering the senior community has high amounts of physical and mental illnesses, often times depression gets overlooked as a cause when the senior might have another illness that would create the same symptom.

For instance, someone with a gastrointestinal disease will have no appetite, and neither will someone who is depressed. The gastrointestinal disease is most likely the first thing the doctors are going to look at to treat to fix the problem. This same patient also unable to sleep, this insomnia might be brought on by pain or malnutrition. Which is a very intelligent deduction, however, there is a problem with seniors not getting the help they need with their depression. According to the CDC, 20% of seniors who were looking for help before successfully committing suicide went to the doctor that day.

 

It’s important to be able to recognize the mental and physical symptoms of depression so that you or your loved one can get the help that you truly need.

Physical Symptoms

Chronic Fatigue

Having depression can make you tired, constantly. Having chronic fatigue can make it difficult to move around and get things done because you don’t have the energy. This is why many people report their depressed loved ones unable to get out of bed. That as well as lack of motivation.

How You Can Help

Be patient with your loved one, remembering that their body is exhausted. It may seem like they have done nothing all day, but that is because of how devastatingly tired they are. You can encourage them with small spurts of exercise. Even if it is just a walk to the mailbox every day, you can still make a difference.

How CBD Can Help

CBD can give the body a natural boost without the jitters. If your loved one is exhausted, using CBD to get them to do the smallest amount of exercise can help them regain some of that energy they lost to depression.

Small Appetite

Irregular Appetite

People battling depression also have an irregular appetite. It can come as overeating or under eating, but the most common in the elderly community is a decrease in appetite. Not eating can add to the chronic fatigue, as well, not fully replenishing your body of the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and energized.

How You Can Help

Try to make foods that you know your loved one enjoys. Try your best not to show frustration when they don’t take it right away. Let them know there is food ready for them whenever they need it. Unfortunately, it has to be their decision, or it will make the journey twice as hard. Snacking is also a great way to keep your loved ones with at least a little bit of food. By making yummy treats with CBD in them, you can also help rebuild their appetite while getting food in their system.

How CBD Can Help

CBD is known for regulating the neurological and immune system. This means it also regulates appetite. Whether depression has increased or decreased appetite, using CBD can help get the body back on track to a healthy eating schedule.

Increase In Pain

Depression and pain share a common neuro-pathway, dealing with the same neurotransmitters to transmit signals from cell to cell. This is why it is common for people with depression to have physical pain symptoms, and for people with chronic pain to have depression symptoms.

How You Can Help

Try to remember that even though they look fine, they are in pain. Draw them up a nice Epsom salt bath to help ease their muscles. Using creams and gels on their body also will help ease their pain. For the best effect without the harsh chemicals, using CBD topicals is great for treating targeted pain.

How CBD Can Help

Depression can cause joint and muscle pain, which can lead to poor sleeping habits and being nonactive. Both of which can worsen depression. Using CBD topicals, you can hit the spots that are hurting, efficiently decreasing the pain. It also just feels good not to have pain anymore, which is definitely a plus when dealing with depression.

Sleeping Man

Irregular Sleep Patterns

Insomnia is another symptom that comes with depression and can also cause distress. Many times when patients walk into the doctor's office, they are unsure of which came first in the patient. Irregular sleep patterns will only continue to fertilize your depression, making your mental health deteriorate.

How You Can Help

If your loved one is depressed and can’t sleep, there are a few things you can do to help make it a little easier to doze off.

  • Try not to hang out in the bed. Let the body and mind recognize this space as a time to sleep, not a time to be active.
  • Cut down on caffeine and sugars. Especially when it is closer to bedtime.
  • Try using aromatherapy and music to help you or your loved one fall asleep. There are plenty of scents that are meant to calm the mind that can help you doze off.
  • Having a set sleep schedule will get you biological clock set. The body will start to get tired at the same time every day, making it easier to fall asleep.
  • Many people can’t fall asleep because of anxiety, having a relaxing and clean environment can have positive effects on falling asleep.

How CBD Can Help

Though THC is most commonly thought of when using medical marijuana to sleep, CBD actually has some benefits that help the insomniac as well. Many people can’t sleep because of an elevated heart rate and racing mind due to stress. Depression can make you more agitated, making the slightest discomforts and annoyances magnified into an impossible obstacle. CBD helps calm the mind so you can tackle your stressors, and leaves you having a more restful sleep.

Mental Symptoms Of Depression

Constantly Sad

When someone is depressed, they have this constant feeling of sadness that they can’t shake. This takes the sparkle out of amazing things that we can encounter every day. It can make it almost painful to visit loved ones because so badly do the ones suffering want to put on a happy face to their grandchildren.

How You Can Help

This is not something your loved one can simply snap out of. They cannot get over it, and they can’t just be happy. Their brain isn’t allowing them to do so. Try to be encouraging of positivity. Be an uplifting spirit around them, reminding them what it looks like to be happy. Show them how to do it in case they have forgotten. Be loving, that is what they need most. They are caught up in a battle that can be very lonely, being by their side can be the best remedy some days.

How CBD Can Help

Because of Cannabidiol’s interaction with the nervous system, CBD also acts as an anti-depressant. If your loved one is already on anti-depressants, it is important you speak with the doctor before making any medicinal changes. Even though CBD is very safe for people of all ages to use, taking someone off of pharmaceutical anti-depressants is a delicate task that should only be done by a doctor.

Stressed Man

Anxiety

Even though depression is known for its low energy, one of the main symptoms of depression is anxiety. Anxiety is exhausting, which can lead to poor sleeping habits, poor eating habits and an overall poor quality of life. Anxiety can also get extremely overwhelming, making people with depression have an even harder time coming up with the motivation to complete a task.

What You Can Do To Help

Try not to overwhelm your loved one knowing that they can handle very little at times. Doing things around the house for them so they aren’t thinking about it all day can really ease their mind. It can also put a dent in a task they have been avoiding because it is so overwhelming. By helping them complete it, you would be helping them reach a sense of fulfillment that would take the place of their depression for a few moments.

What CBD Can Do To Help

Using CPD Tinctures of E-liquids can help your loved one when they are experiencing chronic anxiety and are on the verge of a panic attack. It works quickly to calm their nerves and can help get them thinking clearly once again. These methods do not last all day, but they are extremely efficient in calming the anxious mind.

Hopelessness

This looks like a loss of interest in things they once loved, or lack of any motivation do to things they need to do. You may have already had the conversation about needing to shower more than once every two weeks, but they just don’t seem to care. What is the point when you are living in your own misery? This can also cause people to be late on paying bills, and not because they don’t have money. Some people will let the bill sit on the counter, just being another task that needs to be done. Severity is no longer a concept, everything is just a task that needs to be done, and they generally can’t find the motivation to care.

What You Can Do To Help

CBD can’t help with hopelessness, but you can. You can help brighten up their life by showing them how important they are to you. Just by visiting and spending time with them shows them they matter. Small little gifts that make you think of them could brighten their world, and a short walk in the park could clear their heads. Remind them of the beauty in the world around us, and that hope is still a tangible concept. Because if they matter to someone, maybe other things could matter, too.

Sarah Potts

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2 comments


  • Hey Belle,
    I’m sorry you’re going through this right now. It can feel so lonely and dark when you become consumed by your thoughts. Avoiding a medical professional may make you feel better right now, but in the long run, it could do more harm than good. Yes, people have found that CBD has helped them overcome so much darkness in their lives, but it isn’t a cure-all. By itself, all it might do is make your brain change, which is what medication from doctors do. But what you may notice, is they advise seeing a therapist as well. This is because a brain change isn’t enough, the mind inside needs to learn how to go along with these changes. Even when your insides are getting better, your thoughts can still try to poison and control you. I have personally had a lot of success using CBD, but as soon as I added a therapist into the mix it was like my life was changing completely. Please go talk to someone, if you leave this to yourself you could end up hurt. But CBD may be able to help you like it has so many others and make the journey an easier ride.
    I hope this has helped
    Sarah from CBD Instead

    CBD Instead on

  • I am worried what’s happening to me these past few days. I’m in the right mind to think now so i take this opportunity to ask for some help. I read along the way this article https://www.worldwide-marijuana-seeds.com/blogs/marijuana-news/how-high-can-you-go that maybe CBD can help me. I am experiencing a behavior where i feel like i am alone but i am not. I’m stressing myself with no reason, i over think with small things, i feel like im too emotional everytime someone says something about me. I know i need a professional opinion about this but i just want to have an alternative solution and i read that CBD can help me. I am not sure if this thing works. So does anybody tried it? I need a help. Please..

    Belle Dushner on

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