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Do you know what depression looks like?

Whether you are planning for your own later years or working with an older loved one to develop or implement long-term care plans, you should know some of the signs of depression. Depression can happen at any time in life, but it is often common when someone is facing later years and has lost loved ones or personal independence. Understanding what depression looks like helps you seek assistance for yourself or a loved one before the issue becomes dangerous or begins seriously impacting the enjoyment of later years.

First, it's important to understand that almost every person experiences feelings of depressions from time to time. You might feel depressed after retiring as you adjust to a completely new lifestyle, for example. You can also feel depression because you are losing people as you age or because you can no longer do all the things you really want to. These are all natural feelings. Temporary depression can often be helped with better diets, exercise, doing things you enjoy or talking to someone -- either a friend or a professional.

Major depression, however, is a disorder. It requires a diagnosis from a professional provider and could be treated with a variety of methods, including medication. Signs of major depression include feeling tired or sluggish all the time, feeling hopeless or sad constantly, loss of interest in people or things, decreases or increases in either weight or appetite that are otherwise unexplained and trouble sleeping. Sleeping too much or not wanting to get out of bed, headaches, digestive issues, being worried and anxious consistently and suicidal thoughts are all also symptoms of depression.

If you have some of these symptoms, consider contacting a clinical professional -- such as a therapist or your doctor -- to discuss treatment options. Meanwhile, plan to make the most of your life with long term care planning that ensures all your needs are covered. When you work with a care planning professional to cover all the details, you help ensure comfortable, enjoyable years that are less likely to result in depression.

Source: National Caregivers Library, "The Symptoms of Depression," accessed Feb. 19, 2016

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