Many of us spend more time with our extended family and loved-ones around the holidays than we do any other time of the year. Sometime that time apart before getting together enables us to see the subtle physical and mental changes that may not otherwise be apparent on a day to day basis. When an elderly loved one faces a depression diagnosis, friends and family are often unsure of what to say and do.

It can feel confusing and frustrating when attempting to understand what triggered the depression, and what to do about how it is affecting the person you care about. For those suffering, it is easy to feel alone and uneasy about discussing their depression, especially because they are working through it themselves. Helping our aging family members deal with the changes in their lives is a daunting experience. While physical issues are easily recognizable and usually addressed quickly, mental health symptoms are often overlooked, or simply regarded as a "normal part of aging".

Memory loss, confusion, depression, and dementia are warning signs that merit evaluation. If someone your care about is experiencing symptoms, you will make a difference just by being supportive. Let them know that you care about them. Health care professionals such as a geriatric psychiatrist or a geriatrician are good first line resources for diagnosis and treatment options.