Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

Simple Ways You Can Support A Loved One With Depression

by Stephen Silva

According to the Hope for Depression Research Foundation, approximately 18 million adults in the United States reported suffering from the symptoms of depression in the last year. Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, and chances are you have a loved one that is dealing with depression, whether it is diagnosed or not.

As a friend, family member, spouse, partner, or even neighbor, here are a few simple tips you can do to support and care for someone in your life who is living with depression.

Learn Some of the Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Many people are living with depression and don't even realize it. If you suspect your friend is struggling with depression, and you want to help, it is important to first understand some of the most common signs and symptoms of depression, including:

  • Feeling sad and hopeless
  • Loss of interest in everyday activities
  • Anger
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Physical symptoms, including aches and pains
  • Persistent negative thoughts

Another common sign of depression is a change in a person's sleep patterns. For example, a person might have trouble sleeping, or they might sleep more than usual.

Offer Your Undivided Attention and Listen

Often, one of the most important things you can do as a friend or family member is just listen. Find a quiet place and ask your loved one how they are feeling. Listen without judgment and offer your support. Do not try to compare your struggles to your loved ones' struggles instead, just tell them that you are there to help in any way they want.

Gently Recommend Your Loved One Seek Help from a Doctor

If you suspect your loved one is struggling with depression and it is undiagnosed, encourage them to seek medical help. Often, a person who is in the midst of depression does not realize it is occurring, or they are in denial about their symptoms.

Provide Support with Your Loved One's Everyday Needs

It is not uncommon for a person with depression to have trouble focusing or struggling with meeting their everyday means. Offer to take your friend or loved one grocery shopping, do their dishes, or make them lunch or dinner. Taking the burden of housework or chores off your loved one's mind can help them recover and focus on their mental health needs.

From understanding the signs of depression to helping with everyday tasks, there are several ways you can support your loved one struggling with depression. Learn more about treating depression by talking with a doctor.