Depression in the elderly
February 17, 2021

Depression affects 1 in 6 people in the UK it is reported to affect between 1 in 4 and 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 and 85% of those diagnosed do not seek help.

Depression in the elderly has a different impact than those who are younger, and often occurs as the result of medical illnesses and disabilities which can, as a result, make depression longer lasting. With the current issues affecting the elderly with “lockdowns” and the inability to freely see their loved ones, this can be exponentially worse.

While people often assume depression only affects mental health, studies have shown that depression in the elderly is associated with an increased risk of cardiac diseases and death from illness. It also can prevent an elderly person from rehabilitating.

There are 5 key factors which affect the mental health of older people:

  1. Relationships – creating and maintaining meaningful relationships to enrich and fulfil someone’s daily life
  2. Discrimination – being treated as an equal despite their age, mobility, race etc.
  3. Physical health – keeping as healthy as possible despite age and access to good medical care at all times
  4. Participation in meaningful activities – having access and inclusion in activities which bring joy to someone’s daily life
  5. Poverty – stress over money or issues with basic necessities such as food, heat, electricity

(Source: Age Concern and the Mental Health Foundation, 2006)

With the consistent risk to the elderly with Covid-19, they are increasingly losing their freedom, unable to maintain relationships with the removal and restrictions on face to face meetings, and clubs and meetings have all been stopped. This has drastically affected the lifestyle of millions of people, especially the elderly and vulnerable.

As a result, we have seen an increasing number of families contact us about the services at Aura Care Living.

It may feel overwhelming as to how you can support your loved one, especially with such strict measures in place and at Aura Care Living we are happy to advise and help along the way.

At Aura Care Living, we address these 5 key factors in many ways.

  1. Relationships –  At Aura Care Living we have a highly experienced team who create exciting activities which are focused on building relationships. These span from a simple “walk and wave”, where we take a group of residents on a walk, to meet other residents within the home. This is often enough to create conversations and lead to meaningful relationships among our residents. We also create game days and team activities so that the residents can have lots of fun side by side and develop friendships.
  2. Discrimination – we treat all of our residents as equals and ensure there are ample opportunities for residents no matter their age, mobility, mental abilities and more.
  3. Physical Health – while the lockdown reduces the opportunities to be in the public as much, we have created fun ways to keep our residents active in the home. Both homes boast beautiful gardens, so we take our residents out as much as possible for walks and fresh air. For those who wish to stay inside, we create some fun games with the Activity Teams such as armchair exercises, seated tennis and seated pilates. We also have activities focused on mental agility with our “mind matters” activities. These can include puzzles, quizzes and games which keep our residents engaged, youthful and mentally stimulated, no matter their ability.
  4. Participation in meaningful activities – all of our activities are expertly developed to ensure that we are catering to the specific needs of our residents and this is made possible by having a highly trained and experienced team. The activities are created with the abilities in mind as well as an in-depth knowledge of our resident’s likes and dislikes as well as hobbies and passions. Our Aura Care Wishing Tree was a perfect example of something which delved into the hopes and dreams of our residents and continues to be a massive success within our care settings.
  5. Poverty – Financial planning in old age can be an extremely daunting prospect and we ensure that those needing any assistance speak to a qualified SOLLA member. SOLLA members are highly qualified financial planners who specifically work with those in later life and can assist in ensuring security and peace of mind when planning finances. Age UK is a wonderful free service which offers in-depth help in matters relating to finances as well as legal matters, and can be a great resource for those struggling with finances.

Depression in the elderly is a very real issue which has been exponentially exhausted by Covid-19 and its unrelenting attack on the elderly. In this time, we are still taking residents into our exclusive Admissions Wing and can integrate them safely with our residents. Respite beds are often available and these can grant access to those struggling with the ongoing demands of isolation alongside mobility and health limitations.

We encourage those uncertain of their family or friends needs to take advantage of our Rapid Response Assessment where you will be contacted within 24 hours by a highly qualified member of our team. This industry leading service allows a quick assessment of your family members needs to help you ensure you are getting the right care and help for your loved one. Click here to get your assessment.