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How To Know The Difference Between Grief And Late-Life Depression

a caregiver offers companionship to her senior client, playing card games

Feelings of grief are a natural part of life at any age. Significant changes in the lives of elderly people such as leaving a home, retirement and the loss of family and friends can be a major source of anxiety. Sadness and grief can be natural and healthy reactions to these hardships.

Clinical depression, however is very different from normal sadness and is a very serious and potentially fatal condition. Identifying the difference between grief and clinical depression can sometimes be difficult even for a trained medical professional. People suffering from depression are often reluctant to talk about their feelings or to seek the help they need. If left untreated, clinical depression can be devastating to personal relationships and can even lead to thoughts of suicide.

The process of grieving involves a range of emotions – from joy to sadness. People in the grieving process can still experience moments of happiness or pleasure. Depression on the other hand saps all the feelings of happiness from a person’s life and makes it almost impossible to enjoy anything.

Watch for warning signs that suggest depression and not just grief:

  • An intense sense of guilt and malaise.
  • Thoughts of suicide or persistent thoughts of dying.
  • Feelings of despair and hopelessness.
  • Slow speech and body movements.
  • Seeing or hearing things that are not there.
  • Demanding behavior.
  • Social withdrawal.

It is important to give yourself and your loved ones time to react to changes in life and that includes allowing time to grieve. Depression will not simply “go away” and the person afflicted will not “snap out of it” on their own. Professional treatment can significantly reduce the severity of depression symptoms and can give a person the tools they need to cope with the disorder.

Treating depression can take time and the love and support of friends and family. Talk to your doctor today about

Long term home care, in particular, can help patients recovering from surgery or injury as well as patients with ongoing or chronic medical conditions, such as Alzheimers disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS. While this article focuses on ALS nursing care in the home, similar factors may be used in considering a Parkinson’s care plan or multiple sclerosis care plan, as well as planning dementia home care or Alzheimers home care.

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