Seniors are at a higher risk of developing depression than younger people, especially if they are in an assisted living facility. Unfortunately, nursing home staff members in California are often not trained to recognize the symptoms of serious depression, which means your loved one may not be treated properly.
Signs of depression in elderly people
If your loved one is displaying certain symptoms, it is possible they are suffering from depression. You should watch for the following:
- Anxiety issues
- Constant feelings of sadness, worry or anger
- Negative statements
- Repetitive health complaints
- Unrealistic fears
In a nursing home, depression can be a vicious cycle, especially if your loved one suffered from depression issues before they went into the facility. If they experience a low standard of care, it could compound their feelings of depression. This can also be true if your loved one is isolated, whether it is because family members live too far away to visit or there are medical risks that prevent your loved one from having visitors. Isolation of a patient in a nursing home could lead to nursing home injuries such as self-harm if your loved one does not get the help they need to deal with the depression.
Risk factors for developing depression in nursing homes
When people talk about nursing home injuries, they often talk about falls, abuse and medical errors, but the fact is that if an assisted living facility does not address depression, the facility could face nursing home malpractice claims. Trained professionals in the facility should recognize the risk factors that indicate depression. Losing friends and loved ones puts elderly people at risk for depression, especially if they begin to feel hopeless or helpless. Isolation from family and friends for any reason can lead to depression as can declining health. Older people who suffer from chronic pain are also more likely to become depressed.
The responsibility of the nursing home
A nursing home that does not have staff trained to recognize depression is not maintaining a standard of care and is not providing your loved one with a good quality of life. Hiring an attorney may help you determine if the nursing home is negligent and whether you qualify for a nursing home injury claim.