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The Ezra Home Care Blog

Does Dad Have Depression After his Stroke?: Here’s a Warning Sign Checklist

Oct 13, 2017 |

If your dad is recovering from a major stroke, he could be at a heightened risk of depression. When somebody has a stroke, there can be very serious implications on their physical ability – reduced mobility, problems with sight or speech. While he is adapting to changes in his health, he may also experience emotional difficulties.

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Dad may not be able to get specific answers about his future recovery, many things he had planned to do will have to be postponed or cancelled, and it might be hard for him to feel like anyone understands just what he is going through. All of this can lead to frustration, anxiety, and fear, and quite often, can also result in depression. In fact, according to the National Stroke Association, a third of stroke survivors suffer from post-stroke depression.

Look out for signs of depression in your dad once he gets home from the hospital or rehab facility, and in the following months, as depression can begin to manifest long after the traumatic event that first led to his hospitalization.

Unfortunately, depression is a common side effect post-stroke, but it can be treated if it is recognized, quickly. Of course, it's natural to experience moments of sadness, or frustration, as he goes through his recovery. Leveraging the assistance of a Home Care aide can be a benefit, as the caregiver can help with socialization and companionship. However, be aware that he may still experience an increased sense of hopelessness.

If you think your dad is showing signs of a major depression that lasts all day, almost every day, for an extended time, bring it to the attention of his medical team. Use this warning sign checklist if you are concerned:

  • Persistent Feelings of Sadness or Emptiness
    Everyone is entitled to good days and bad days, but if you notice that your dad's feelings of despondency never lift, it could be a warning sign that he is suffering from depression.

  • Irregular Sleep Patterns
    Both excessive tiredness and sleeping at odd times of the day, can also be a sign that your dad is depressed.

  • Disinterest
    A common symptom of depression is a complete lack of interest in activities or things that would normally play an important part in your dad's life.

  • Social Withdrawal
    This can be both a sign of and a contributor to depression. If you notice your dad is reluctant to go out, meet with friends or family, or makes constant excuses to avoid social situations, he may need some help dealing with his health.

  • Irritability and Fatigue
    Often going hand in hand with sleep problems, your dad's tolerance levels may be very low and he may feel too lethargic to engage with you when you are visiting.

  • Eating Problems
    Overeating or, more commonly, a complete lack of interest in food, is another red flag. Not only is it unhealthy, as your dad won't be getting the nutrients he needs (especially if he is in recovery), but it can be a clear sign of depression.

If you recognize two or more of the symptoms above, talk to your dad's Home Care and medical teams. Often, it is a family member who will spot these signs first, and the earlier depression is recognized, the sooner your dad can start therapy or medication to help him feel better.

Open communication, providing access to a support group so your dad can meet other people he can relate to, and encouraging regular social contact, are all ways you can help someone who is going through post-stroke depression.

Employing a Home Care company can help provide the support your dad may need if he does start to suffer from depression following his stroke. As well as providing and encouraging social interaction, a Home Care aide can help with meal preparation, exercise, and monitoring of medication, so you will have peace of mind knowing that he is being helped through this difficult time.

To find out how Home Care can benefit your elderly parent following a stroke or bout with depression, contact our expert team of caregivers today.

TAGS: Mobility Issues Stroke Care Elder Care Elder Behavioral Issues

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Susan Z. Robins, Vice President, Sales and Marketing

About Susan Z. Robins, Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Susan brings to Ezra Home Care more than 25 years of experience helping organizations, inside and outside healthcare, increase brand awareness, market share and revenues. She is responsible for developing Ezra Home Care’s sales and marketing strategy which includes increasing referral partner relationships, improving community relations, and developing and implementing the company’s online marketing strategy.

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