THE ELDERLY AND DEPRESSION, PART II

 I have been writing about elder abuse and protecting the elder. In this process, I have learn so much and I hope that this journey has helped those who read this as well. I really did not fully grasp the plight of the elderly until I noticed my mother’s struggle with grief.

My mother has been the rock of my family and now since she has suffered a bout with depression after suffering the loss of the mother, niece and brother, I painfully watched the woman I love so much become a shell of who she was.

I did not know that I had to become her champion and protect from potential predators. There were those who tried to say that she was suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. I kept saying that they were wrong and was accused of being in denial.

When she started having hallucinations, I took her to the optometrist to make sure that she was not suffering from Charles Bonnet Syndrome, which is the experience of complex visual hallucinations in patients with visual loss.

I later took her to her primary doctor. This man was the kind of doctor that anyone who had a medical problem would love to have, comforted her and assured her that she was not crazy. He told her that she was taking on too much and learn how to say no.

I took her to a psychiatrist and she explained to my mother that depression at her age is different. This is a result of losing those in her peer group, i.e. siblings, cousins, etc. She also suggested that she stop isolating herself and start socializing. This made all of the difference to her. I can report that she has been significant progress.

I tell this story about my mother because there were those who cruelly validated her hallucinations and told her that they were real, her  money was stolen and she was in fear. This, in my opinion, is definitely abuse.

To those who are caretakers of older loved ones, you are charged with the responsibility to champion their survival and helping them maintain their quality of life.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.

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