By Mike Glenn, RPh. – Gayco Consultant Pharmacist
This time of uncertainty amid the COVID-19 virus might be a prime opportunity to assess or reassess the treatment of depression for those in our facility. Family and friends are unable to visit with our residents initiating or augmenting depression. The prevalence of depression increases with age and is the most common mental disorder in the elderly population. Sadness and anxiety may exist with loss of independence and the onset of dementia and other health issues. We must recognize symptoms of depression with our residents:
- Lack of energy
- Feeling worthless
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Decreased energy
- Feelings of sadness
- Decreased interest in hobbies or activities
- Increased or decreased weight
- Decreased personal hygiene
- Problems with memory
- Decreased social interests
The treatment of depression in the nursing home setting may or may not require medication. A non-pharmacological approach is encouraged. Studies show that steps to decrease environmental stressors and social isolation are highly successful. Extra attention and activities are encouraged.
Recognizing worsening or new symptoms of depression so that proper treatment can be initiated or augmented should be a priority in this time of increased isolation and loneliness.