Many studies have recognized the commonness of depression in older person. The rising incidence of depression in older person has a correlation with age, gender, genetics, lifestyle, interpersonal relationship and the level of education. This means that depression in older person has multiple etiologies. Besides, it connotes that most old people are at risk of depression. Therefore, the issue of depression in older person is critical because of its implications to the patient, relatives, caregivers and residents hence, the community should work collaboratively to come up with innovations that address the situation.
To begin with, depression poses a great challenge to the older person. This is because it interferes with his or her social, biological or psychological well-being. According to a recent research, Brink (2009) explains that depression in older person exposes one to self-stigma. This is because the old persons feeling of independence as well as resilience dishearten him or her from seeking assistance or accepting that he or she is ill. Furthermore, depression exposes the older person to morbidity, mortality and ill health because of its effect on nutrition pattern (Garratt, 2009). This is particularly prevalent when the old person does not seek treatment.
As a result, there is a decrease in appetite with subsequent immunodeficiency thus, exposing the old person to diseases that lead to morbidity or mortality. Lastly, untreated depression in the older person increases his or her chance of developing psychological disorders as well as aggravating the existing mental problems like dementia and delirium. Therefore, the relatives, residents and caregivers play an imperative role in the progression of depression in older person.
In a survey about the importance of relatives in older person depression, Garratt (2009) explains that they play a critical role in ensuring that the patient seeks medical attention. This is because they are the ones who stay with the patient and they are likely to detect when the patient condition change. For instance, they can notice the primary signs of depressions like withdrawal, anorexia and apathetic thus, assisting the patient to seek medical attention. Besides, relatives will assist the old person with depression to access health services (Silveira, 2010). This is possible via taking the patient to the mental health institution, settling the finances and procuring the required medications.
Finally, relatives assist the old person with depression to adhere to the treatment regimen. This is important because irrational drug use can exacerbate the depression in older person. For instance, abuse of antidepressant like amitriptyline lead to dependence. A condition where a person cannot do without the medication and once withdrawn, the manifestations of the disease worsens. Hence, caregivers’ involvement in the management of depression in older person is paramount.
According to Hanson (2009), caregivers should not only provide services at the mental health institutions but also follow up the depressed patients in their homes. This is important for enhancement of a therapeutic relationship between the caregiver and the depressed person. A positive therapeutic relationship result to the patient compliance with treatment regimen hence, alleviation of depressive symptoms. In a research done about barriers to seeking depression treatment, Silveira (2010) explains that distrust as well as ineffective communication between the caregivers and the patients prevented the depressed older people from looking for medical attention as well as complying to the treatment regimen.
Therefore, caregivers ought to develop therapeutic relationship with the depressed older people. This will assist the older person with depression to build trust in the caregiver thus compliance with the treatment regimen. Additionally, follow-ups visits by the caregiver create a sense of acceptance in the depressed older person. This results to a positive attitude in the depressed old person hence, reduction of depressive symptoms. For that reason, residents assist in the recovery of the old person with depression via making him or her change his or her attitude towards the illness.
Many researchers argue that residents are significant for social support and facilitation. According to a recent survey on old people above the age of sixty years, Kleinman (2008) explains that a positive correlation existed between an increase in social support and a decrease in the development of depression. This is because residents usually help a depressed old person cope with the illness through companionship thus alleviation of stigma, which play a key role in increasing depression. For instance, by visiting a depressed old person, his or her sense of belonging and acceptance increase because he or she feels that the community values him or her.
The feeling of acceptance and belonging is important in alleviating loneliness, which is a predisposing factor to psychological illness (Jorm, 2009). Lastly, residents help the depressed old person by providing the required supports like finances and medication. This is important because, management of depression in an old person is challenging as factors like money, time, materials and people affect it.
Sanden (2007) explains that the aforementioned factors have a great implication on the management as well as response to treatment of depression in the old person. To begin with, old people with depression are not working hence; they do not have enough money. This means that they cannot access health services as well as procure the antidepressants medications. As a result, the probability of a depressive person seeking treatment is almost zero. This is the reason behind the increase in morbidity and mortality in old people with depression. According to an interview done, most depressed old people responded that they did not seek medical attention due to lack of finances (Lawton, 2011). This is a clear indication of the relationship between lack of money and exacerbation of depressive disorders in old people. Apart from money, time is also a critical factor in depression in older people.
In a research done, thirty percent of the old depressed people attributed the cause of their depression to lack of time to spend with their significant others (Adrina, 2006). They further explained that their children do not create time to spend with them; as a result, they feel lonely and depressed. This scenario shows the importance of companionship in alleviation of depression in old people. Therefore, caregivers, residents and relatives should create time to spend with the depressed old person. This is because people play important role in the life of the depressed old person. According to Glonek (2006), they divert the attention of the depressed old person.
This helps the depressed person to forget the causes of his or her condition. As a result, the impact of depression decreases. Furthermore, people assist the depressed old person via provision of materials like antidepressants medication and ensuring that he or she takes them correctly. This is important in the management of depressed old person because old people usually suffer from dementia and delirium. As a result, they can forget to take the medication thus, worsening of the depression. Therefore, innovations that address depression in older people are important.
One such innovation is involvement of nurses in research concerning depression in older person. This is because most of the old people have depression yet the health care professionals have not identified some of them while others are receiving inadequate management (Blazer, 2006). As a result, nurses need to engage in a thorough research about mental health issues in the old population. The research can entail prospective studies, descriptive surveys as well as interviews. By so doing, the gap that exists between depression in old person and the seeking of treatment will either reduce or close.
Moreover, there is need for more nurses to practice geriatric nursing. This nursing practice revolves around the old people. It entails a comprehensive and holistic care of the old people using advanced technologies (Allebeck, 2008). It also entails home care as well as visiting nurses. The geriatric nursing is imperative in addressing the issue of depression in older people. For instance, through home visiting, the geriatric nurse can identify a depressed old person and commence with management before the condition worsen.
Lastly, nurses should provide the old people with education concerning depression. The education should entail the eminent signs and symptoms of depression in old people and the proper action (Brody, 2009). This will assist old people to seek early treatment. Additionally, the nurse should educate old people on the importance of adhering to the treatment regimen of depression. This will ensure that the old person with depression exercise rational drug use thus, alleviation of depressive signs and symptoms.
In conclusion, the issue of depression in older person is critical. This is because it affects the life of the patient, the relatives, the caregivers and the residents. Additionally, management of depression in an old person is challenging as factors like money, time, materials and people affect it. As a result, innovations like researches, education and geriatric nursing are important in addressing the issue.
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