Depression is a common issue among nursing home residents. In fact, it affects roughly 49 percent of residents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since depression leads to a lower quality of life, it’s important for nursing home staff to find ways to help elderly residents cope with this disorder. The following tips on aging and mental health can help you provide your residents with the assistance and support they need.
Elderly residents with depression might not feel as though they have the energy to participate in the nursing home’s social activities, but they should be encouraged to do so. Staying busy with games, crafts or other activities gives them something positive to focus on, which can help ease symptoms of depression. Getting regular social interaction with others during these activities can also help.
Be a Good Listener
You might not have a lot of time to spend with individual residents, so it’s important to make the most of it. When you’re with residents who are struggling with depression, encourage them to talk to you about anything that’s bothering them. If they’re willing to discuss how they’re feeling, be a good listener. This provides them with emotional support and shows them that there are other people who care about them, which is especially important if they don’t have family around to visit them.
Make Sure They Go Through With Treatment
Since aging and mental health disorders are a common problem, there are effective ways to treat these disorders. When you have residents who are depressed, make sure that they’re following their treatment plan. This could involve taking an antidepressant or attending therapy or counseling sessions. These residents might need some motivation from you to continue going through with treatment, especially if it isn’t producing results quickly enough for them.
Help Them Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle
Diet and exercise can help elderly residents manage depression more effectively. Make sure that these residents are eating well-balanced meals that provide them with plenty of nutrients. Help them get regular physical activity, even if it’s simply walking around the nursing home. If possible, walk around with them outside to give them more exposure to fresh air and sunlight, which can also help ease symptoms of depression.