If you are the caregiver of an elderly parent or loved one, their physical health is just one part of their overall well-being. You should be vigilant for signs of depression or other mental health issues, and ask a doctor to refer them to a physician who specializes in geriatric psychiatry. Here are a few things to look for.
4 Reasons Your Loved One May Need a Geriatric Psychiatry Referral
1. Frequent Mood Swings or Prolonged Sadness
Depression is common among the elderly, particularly among those who are isolated or homebound without much social interaction. While sadness is a normal part of living, watch for sadness that lasts for weeks or severe mood swings.
2. Changes in Appetite
A major increase or decrease in appetite could point to a medical condition or mental illness. If you don’t eat meals with them often, look for weight gain or weight loss, and check in with family members or friends who spend time with them.
3. Unexplained Physical Ailments
Sometimes aches and pains are a normal part of aging or are associated with an illness. Aches and pains, however, can also be associated with depression—especially those that cannot be attributed to any medical condition. Have your family member checked out by a physician first, then ask for a referral to a geriatric psychiatry expert.
4. Changes in Personal Grooming
If your family member regularly appears unkempt, with dirty clothes and unwashed hair, they may be suffering from depression. They may also be physically unable to groom themselves. Broaching this can be a difficult topic, but it’s important not to ignore this sign of a possible mental health issue.
Caring for a family member is a big responsibility and you don’t’ have to manage it alone. Reach out to your doctor, a caregiver agency, or a geriatric psychiatry expert for support.
The doctors and medical professionals at River Valley Medical Center in Dardanelle, AR, care for you and yours like family. For more than 60 years, they have provided quality treatment in a friendly environment that puts patients at ease. Whether you need a family doctor or emergency care, this team has the health care services you need to get healthy and stay healthy. Call (479) 229-4677 to schedule an appointment or send a message online with your questions.