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What to do if your loved one is depressed


Depression in older adults is very common. It is also very treatable. If you suspect depression, the first step is to have your relative talk with a medical professional. He or she can check for other health conditions. You want to get an exact diagnosis.

Studies show that 60% to 80% of older adults who receive appropriate treatment for depression do feel better.


Antidepressant medication is the most common approach. Things to know about antidepressants:

  • Your relative’s primary care doctor can write the prescription.

  • Costs are typically covered by insurance.

  • Today’s antidepressants have fewer side effects than in years past.

  • It may take 4 to 6 weeks before your loved one feels the full effect.

  • Your relative may need to try a few different medications before finding the one that works best.


Mental health counseling is often the preferred treatment. Many doctors prescribe counseling along with antidepressants. Most counseling involves private sessions with a specially trained professional.

  • Your family member may be taught more positive ways of thinking. Or how actions and activities affect mood.

  • Sessions may focus on solving problems in daily life. Or they may concentrate on resolving difficult relationships.


Other options. Research studies reveal two proven self-help options. They are useful if the depression is not severe.

  • Exercise. Regular exercise boosts mental as well as physical health. Get the doctor’s approval before your loved one starts a new exercise program.

  • Reading self-help books. Completing written exercises in books about depression can change thought patterns and behaviors. Ask the doctor to recommend a book he or she has found to be effective.

No matter the treatment chosen, make sure a trained professional stays involved. Ongoing monitoring of your loved one’s progress is essential.


Is depression a concern? For many older adults there is a stigma concerning mental or emotional problems. We at Caring With Grace understand what a sensitive topic this can be. We also know how important it is to get treatment. Give us a call at (214) 789-6402. As the north Texas experts in family caregiving, we can help you navigate a conversation to improve your loved one’s quality of life.

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© 2018 by Caring With Grace, LLC