Many people do not come to the realization that they are suffering from depression until it is too late to do something productive about it – in the case of elders. Either the person that you are caring for extinguishes before you can get your life under control or they are suffering your same fate – as you may have unknowingly passed it along whether you intended to or not.
Let’s face it, life is longer, not necessarily better (like my dad has said many times in the past). If an elderly individual is surrounded by a bunch of negative nellies, what do you expect the outcome to be? (If I can lend a hand here, it will not be like traipsing through fields of daisies!).
Although you cannot really ‘catch’ depression, its tendencies seem to rub off – especially if the elder has portrayed some symptoms in the past. I mean, really, who can be excited about increasing aches and pains, the loss of friends and other loved ones, the loss of driving, and sometimes the loss of being able to take care of yourself personally – not to mention if the person has Dementia!
The best thing that a caretaker can do if they have depression is to get themselves help first so that they are still capable of helping their client/loved one through the last stages of their lifetime. After all, wouldn’t that fall right in line with the theory of that With Age Comes Respect?