Research shows that post-stroke depression is a common occurrence with close to one-third of all stroke patients experiencing a depressive episode. It is not unusual for seniors to feel frustrated, angry and anxious after a stroke, but these feeling can have a significant effect on their rehabilitation and recovery. If you are a Wallingford caregiver looking after a senior recovering from stroke, it’s important to understand how strokes can lead to depression, what to look out for, and what you can do to help.
Why Depression Occurs and Signs to Watch Out For
Strokes can result in depression for numerous reasons, whether it’s due to damage sustained to a specific area of the brain, a chemical imbalance, or simply loss of independence. Seniors may exhibit a few or all of the following symptoms associated with depression after a stroke:
- Weight change, either gain or loss
- Low energy
- Low self-esteem
- Persistent feelings of sadness
- Withdrawing from family or friends
- Irritability or agitation
- Suicidal thoughts
Post-stroke depression may lead to a decreased rate of rehabilitation and can contribute to additional health concerns. It’s important to keep in mind that these depressive periods can happen at any time, even years after the initial event. Seniors who experience symptoms for more than two weeks should be evaluated by their physician as soon as possible.
What to Do if Your Loved One Appears Depressed
There are several treatment options available to seniors who are recovering from stroke.
- Medication, such as antidepressants
- Mental health therapy or counseling
- Secondary treatment, such as speech or occupational therapy
- Wallingford in-home stroke care and assistance
Although there is limited research available, some studies show that seniors recovering from stroke may benefit from antidepressant medications such as Prozac. Additionally, combining medication with mental health care such as counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy may also be helpful. Finally, secondary treatments such as speech therapy may help alleviate stress and frustration that adds to your loved one’s feelings of anxiety and depression.
Although post-stroke depression is very common, it is often undiagnosed and untreated. For this reason, it is important that family caregivers reach out to medical professionals for assistance. Properly identifying and treating post-stroke depression is vital for improved recovery outcomes. Additionally, your loved one will benefit from post-stroke care with Home Care Assistance of Wallingford. Our experienced caregivers help seniors recover safely and efficiently from stroke in the comfort of home by offering mobility assistance, physical exercise, and cognitive stimulation. Learn more by calling us at (203) 955-1915 today and schedule a free in-home consultation.