Medical Alerts for Seniors with Depression

Medical Alerts for Seniors with Depression

time icon 5 min read update icon Sept. 28, 2019


Feeling down or blue is a normal part of life, especially as we get older and we move into the next phase of our lives. That said, feeling worthless or aimless for more than two weeks at a time is not normal, and may be indicative of a graver problem. If you are experiencing depression, it is worth investigating with your healthcare provider and potentially monitoring with a life-saving device.

Depression Overview

Depression is a serious mood disorder that negatively impacts how you feel, think, act and interact with yourself and those around. Symptoms can last for weeks, months and even years.  Depression looks a lot like giving up and isolation, and the sufferer may have trouble concentrating, remembering things and making decisions.

This condition may feel like sadness, hopelessness, emptiness, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness and irritability. Physically, sufferers typically have less energy and may experience changes in appetite. The major types of depression can look a lot like grief, mourning, anxiety or fatigue, but will persist for longer than two weeks.

Depression Impairment

Depression that is triggered by life circumstances such as a change in income or physical mobility can compound feelings of aimlessness, and leave seniors believing that they no longer have a purpose. This feeling of worthlessness may cause a lack of energy and listlessness, which can result in further isolation, loneliness, purposelessness and emptiness. Seniors who feel this way may also stop participating in activities that they once enjoyed. At its worst, depression may drive sufferers to contemplate suicide.

Those experiencing a depressive episode may also experience the following impairments:

  • Drastic weight loss or gain
  • Aches, pains, headaches, cramps and digestive problems without a clear medical cause
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Undue frustration and grumpiness
  • Feeling nothing at all
  • Crying more than usual
  • Difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Fatigue
  • Forgetfulness
Medical Alert Benefits

Medical alert devices for those experiencing depression should be used in conjunction with a more long-term approach to managing depressive moods.

Seniors suffering from depression may feel extreme bouts of loneliness. The chosen medical alert device should be tailored to the needs of the senior having these sorts of feelings and should include call routing so that non-emergency assistance can be provided. One advantage to this type of caregiver-based routing system is the anonymity it provides the requestor.

Another benefit of using this alert technology alongside therapy is the medical monitoring feature that reminds folks to take key medications. Furthermore, fitness tracking and activity monitoring can help encourage seniors to adopt a daily exercise routine.

Some of the best devices for depression offer in-home communication and 24/7 response center access, and work seamlessly with most nationwide cellular networks.

Depression symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Isolation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Talking about suicide or assisted suicide
Safety Without Medical Alerts

Those suffering from depression may opt to forgo carrying or using a medical alert device, but should try to seek a holistic approach toward managing their disease.

  • Suicidal ideations: Cognitive-behavioral therapy used in conjunction with an antidepressant can improve mood over time and remove the need for life-saving alerts.  Other types of therapy include talk therapy, group therapy and psychotherapy.
  • Inexplicable changes in mood and/or appetite: Knowing whether you are prone to depression is the first step to feeling better without having to invest in a potentially non-valuable medical alert device.
  • Isolation: Getting into a new, positive and rewarding routine is also another “easy” fix for feeling down for extended periods of time.
  • Frustration and grumpiness:  Sometimes, given enough time, episodes of depression lessen naturally.
Depression Precautions:
  1. Know your family’s history: Knowing whether you are at risk for depression can help prevent episodes of feeling down, if steps are taken before the episodes occur. Additionally, a family history of depression also precludes one to episodes of listlessness for longer than two weeks.
  2. Recognize and prepare for a major life change: Having been recently diagnosed with a serious illness or having experienced a major life event can increase stress, which has been known to increase the chances of falling into a major depression. The loss of a friend or family member can also trigger prolonged grief, as can retirement or no longer having to care for a loved one.
  3. Do not self-medicate: Misusing prescription drugs or alcohol can worsen feelings of worthlessness, and should be avoided at all costs.
Depression Medical Alerts Conclusion

Medical alert devices are great tools that can be used in conjunction with therapy for seniors experiencing depression. Technology can grant seniors quick access to a large network of nurses, caregivers and other trained professionals if they are feeling anxious, sad or irritated. Certain alert devices are also discreet, so no one has to know if you or a loved one reaches out for help during a depressive episode or crisis. Just having the option to call someone to talk through a feeling can also aid in the long-term management of depression and allow the senior more confidence in getting back into a routine, even if it just means taking a simple walk or going to the store.

Kate Papenberg - Senior Advisor

Kate is senior researcher with Grandfolk® providing in-depth product and service reviews to empower senior buying decisions.