Part 1: Does moving into a nursing centre increase the risk of depression among elderly?

Although it is common to assume that depression is a normal part of aging, it can be prevented with early intervention from professional carers by alleviating the depressive symptoms and assisting them to lead a healthier life.


Nursing facilities have been promoted as one of the best solutions for aging elderly to spend their golden years in. Great social environment, round the clock care for professional certified nurses and in-house cooks or caterers to provide nutritional and healthy meals for the elderly. Sounds great, isn’t it? However, there is research that has shown that on average half of the elderly in nursing homes are showing the symptoms of depression or diagnosed from the illness.

Elderly are proven to have risk of developing depression in nursing homes especially when the staff nurses are not trained adequately on mental health intervention. This may lead to severe health risks to the senior and affect their quality of life.

There are few risk factors that result from depression in nursing homes. The seniors may encounter many issues that result from experiencing loss of the loved one and prolonged grief, isolation and declining health and mental capabilities. Losing our beloved ones can trigger depression especially for elderly who had quite a handful of free time in their hands post-retirement to allow their grief to consume them. They also may not be able to adjust with the new environment in the nursing home, causing them to miss their own homes and their old routines.

A long-term stay in a nursing home may also cause the elderly to feel isolated from their family members and relatives. They have less time to see their children, grandchildren or maybe their pets unlike when they were still living with the family members. These situations can give a surge of intense loneliness, which can be deduce as one of the leading factors for depression.

Health tends to worsen as people grow older. Declining health causes aching and muscle pain that limits the elderly mobility and their capability of completing daily tasks by their own. Studies show seniors who suffer from chronic pain are prone to experience depression unlikely compared to those who are not suffering from chronic illness. Cognitive impairment in elderly can also impact their mood which leads to irritation, agitation and depression. Moreover, declining ability of senses such as hearing also has been observed to contribute to increased risk of depression. Theoretically, there is a possibility that the elderly may withdraw from joining an activity or event if they are unable to follow the conversations.

In prevention of depression to become severe among elderly living in a nursing home, the staff need to be aware of the symptoms of depression shown by the residents and have a range of intervention prepared in place. It is imperative to have a balanced and standardized care to ensure the residents are both physically and mentally attended to in order to provide for high quality and professional care suitable for elderly. Family members are also encouraged to play their parts in entertaining their elderly by visiting them at the facility, bringing the elderly for a day out or celebrating special days together in order for them to feel loved and appreciated by their own flesh and bloods.

Although it is common to assume that depression is a normal part of aging, it can be prevented with early intervention from professional carers by alleviating the depressive symptoms and assisting them to lead a healthier life.

Keeping these issues in mind, Jasper Lodge Care Centres are coming into lights with carefully planned strategies to avoid their residents from facing depression and declining health while staying at their facilities. Stay tuned for the next blog release on what Jasper Lodge Care Centres (Malaysia) offers to their residents in regards to their mental and physical health!

For more information, feel free to visit www.jasperlodge.com.my or contact the nationwide hotline at 03-5626 0033 to talk to the Care Advisors.



Written by: Fariza Kasani

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