Half of nursing home residents suffer from depression

Firm News | February 15, 2019

You know all about the physical challenges that a loved one faces when moving to a nursing home, and perhaps those challenges are the main reason for the move. The person has trouble with mobility and cannot take care of themselves. They need constant care from the staff just to accomplish daily tasks.

However, you need to remember that many residents also face mental and emotional challenges. The staff has to know how to deal with these properly.

It has been estimated that roughly 50 percent of all long-term care residents deal with depression on some level. In around 20 percent of those cases, the residents suffer from major depression. In the other 30 percent, they have significant symptoms. Whether you have personally witnessed this or not, the odds are far higher than many people think that a loved one will suffer from depression.

The impact of aging

The aging process can be mentally, as well as physically challenging. A person in long-term care has had to move out of their family home, and not necessarily by choice. They may need help with things that cause them embarrassment, like showering or using the bathroom. They may get sick or watch as sickness strikes their close friends. The process may cause them to dwell on thoughts of their own mortality and the inevitability of the end of their life.

That’s not easy to handle. These are major changes during a fragile time. Depression only makes it worse.

Nursing home neglect

While aging can be difficult, nursing home neglect can also have a major impact on this depression. When residents do not receive proper care, they may feel:

  • Cut off from the other residents
  • Trapped in their room
  • Unable to connect with anyone on an emotional level
  • Like they are not worthy of basic human dignity
  • Like they are trapped in a hostile environment with no escape

Your loved one does not have to suffer from direct abuse to feel like the nursing home is a stressful, dangerous environment. Neglect can put them in very real physical danger, and this stress can lead to all sorts of emotional and mental issues — including depression.

Proper care for depression

When someone does have depression, they need proper care and treatment. If they don’t get it, injuries become more likely.

For instance, it may sound simple to give them antidepressant medications. However, did you know that these drugs can make falls more likely? The elderly already face increased fall risks, and this just makes it worse. Antidepressants are powerful drugs. If the facility is not carefully monitoring the situation, they can have serious complications while not actually providing any relief.

Any nursing home injury

As you can see, all of these things are interconnected. Neglect can lead to physical injuries, depression, mental disorders and many other complications. When this happens to your loved one, you need to know how to hold the facility accountable.