Caring for an Aging Loved One’s Mental Health
The signs may be subtle at first: An older loved one no longer shows interest in something he or she used to deeply enjoy, or can’t keep up with the dishes or the laundry. Perhaps he or she stops making plans with friends or family or makes excuses to avoid going out as often.
It can be easy to think of these changes as just a part of getting older, especially if a loved one has a serious illness that has deeply impacted their daily life like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. But Amy Goyer, AARP’s family and caregiving expert, urges caregivers to take notice, as changes in behavior may be a sign of depression or a mental health condition.
“People don’t realize how common mental illness is among older adults,” Goyer says. “Many people, as they get older, can develop depression just from being isolated.”