How do I convince my mom she needs to see a professional about her depression? Its been over a year since it started.

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Older adults are often very reluctant to meet with mental health professionals, having grown up in an era when few people spoke openly about emotional problems. Many have little idea of just what goes on in mental health evaluation and treatment, and expect the worst—including commitment to a ‘mental hospital’ if they acknowledge how they’re feeling.

Your mother’s primary care physician may be able to help begin the process by referring her to an area professional experienced in working with older adults. For many people, the knowledge that a trusted doctor recommends a treatment can go a long way towards making it OK (even if they’re secretly skeptical). However, getting her to follow through may fall on you.

Resistance to mental health treatment tends to fall into two categories: worries about stigma and cost. Stigma is pretty easy to address--there’s no shame in illness. Depression is an illness, and a very treatable one. Psychotherapy is among the tools best suited to treat it, and it’s smart to use what works. You might want to remind your mother of the many prominent people who have sought treatment successfully and shared their experiences—such as Mike Wallace, Tipper Gore, and Oprah Winfrey. Worries about cost can usually be addressed with calls to the insurance companies and the provider’s office; if the provider participates in Medicare, about half the cost will be covered, and secondary insurance often picks up much of the balance.

Knowing what to expect may be reassuring. The typical initial interview is a lot like any other first visit with a health professional—it’s a conversation intended to gather history about the individual, to find out what she’s thinking and feeling. Mental health professionals tend to be excellent interviewers, and quite skilled at putting people at ease. They do ask very personal questions about sensitive topics, but they’re good at making it safe. They’re also legally bound by laws and rules that require them to protect their patients’ privacy and dignity. The provider will gather information and make suggestions about interventions that might be helpful, but the patient is the one who decides whether or not to participate—which can be a very empowering realization.

You want your mother to feel better because you care about her--that may be the most powerful persuasion of all.
I convinced my dad to see a dr because as you get older your hormones change quite a bit and those are things that can attribute to depression. Then once we got that confirmed I contacted the dr ahead of time and wrote him a letter of what I thought my fathers issues were and gave him a heads up that if my dad thought he was being evaluated for depression he would probably revolt and not be in agreement to getting help. We found a Dr that was close to my dad's age and was super to work with. We got my dad on some new medication and it seems to be working. Good luck - don't give up!
I think with love. And gently bring to her attention that you are concerned and noticed her feeling down and maybe try and get her to talk..and spend more time with her doing something fun..or if your schedule is or give a call..and if its deeper than that you can bring it that her quality of life is being from your heart I know it will come out the right way..good luck...xoxo
I gave my mom a year of positive lifestyle changes before I asked the doctor to Rx an antidepressant. Mom let out a bit of a squeel, "Not another pill, I'm not sad." It wasn't SAD that was the problem, it was flatlined, no interest in life. Zoloft took hold in about a week and it's made all the difference. In a way, it's a little bit of a burden to be happy, to be known as a happy person. Too much expected of you. If you're depressed, people will leave you alone. Just a guess. And as the tv ads suggest, depression is also achy in the body, and probably tiring.

Hope you have the same good luck I did with my Mom
I think your mom's PCP could be of help if you give him/her a head's up before the next visit. Also, there is a self-screening tool called the Geriatric Depression Scale. It is not a sure-fire diagnosis but you can either do it with your mom or ask her to do it in private, making certain to answer the questions honestly. You can find it through Google. Depression in the elderly is particularly dangerous because the cognitive changes sometimes associated with the depression (can mimic Alzheimer's Disease) can become permanent if not treated. Medication is not the only approach but it may be necessary to get her on the road to recovery.
My mom was easy to convince that she needed some help for depression but in our case, it was her doctor that was the problem. He wouldn't treat her for depression. He's the old country doctor-type. Convincing him that she has signs and symptoms of clinical depression, now that was hard. We have since switched to an internist who is totally on board with everything.
tonight on npr station kqed in San Francisco was "Quest: Illuminating Depression." Here's the webpage for it to view, and other info.

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