There’s hope for residents with depression

May is National Mental Health Month and Turenne PharMedCo joins the nation in recognizing mental illness and the hope of recovery. Mental health is essential to supporting overall health and well-being. Mental illness complicates the treatment of physical ailments and conditions and threatens the ability of residents to thrive in their environment. One of the most common and serious illnesses that residents face is depression. According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of nursing home residents had symptoms of depression. This is especially true of older people in long-term care who may be experiencing a number of stressors such as chronic pain, mobility issues, loss of strength and chronic illness. Additionally, older people are more likely to experience life changes that can lead to depression such as the loss of loved ones and friends, reductions in socioeconomic status and loss of independence.

Depression is related to functional declines and increased risk of death in older people. However, depression is one of the most successfully treated illnesses, according to a 2008 report on the state of mental health and aging by the CDC. There are several effective treatments for older adults, including antidepressant medications. Recognizing the signs of depression in residents is the first step to helping them get treatment, which can make a real difference in their quality of life. Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Noticeable changes in mood, energy level or appetite
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or pessimism
  • Having trouble feeling positive emotions
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling restless or on edge
  • Increased worry or feeling stressed
  • Anger, irritability or aggressiveness
  • Ongoing headaches, digestive issues or pain
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior
  • Thoughts or behaviors that interfere with family or social life
  • Unusual thinking or behaviors that concern other people

Antidepressants can be highly effective in treating depression. Some symptoms usually begin to improve within two weeks, but the medications must be taken over several weeks to work fully. Studies have shown that depression is best treated using a combination of medication, therapy and lifestyle changes. Psycho social interventions can be beneficial in not only helping to relieve the symptoms of depression, but in strengthening coping techniques and promoting healthy behavior. Psycho social interventions can include talk therapy, exercise activities, pet therapy, music and therapeutic recreation. Such interventions are important for providing social interactions and pleasurable experiences for older adults, which can give them a sense of fulfillment and happiness as well as improve their quality of life.

Turenne PharMedCo Pharmacy Services provides pharmacy solutions to residential healthcare communities in the Southeast. We employ a highly-experienced clinical staff who specialize in geriatric pharmacy. For more information about our services, contact us here. 

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