We may just viewed people who are depressed as young people who are dealing with the stresses of school or finding a job or supporting their family. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than two million people ages 65 and older have some form of depression. It is important that depression is not ignored among the elderly and that they get all of the help they need to be able enjoy the rest of their life.
The elderly tend to develop depression when they are dealing with a chronic illness, are lonely, or living unhealthy lifestyles. Depression can lead to an increased risk of cardiac disease and risk of death from illness. It is important to keep your spirits up when dealing with these sorts of diseases like Parkinson’s, stroke, heart disease, dementia, thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis and others in order to live with them. Elderly can be sad if they can no longer drive anymore and are living alone. They may not live near their family anymore and lost all of their friends.
Depression can also be a side effect to taking multiple drugs since when you get older, you are less efficient at metabolizing or processing drugs. Depression can come from taking blood pressure medication, beta-blockers, high-cholesterol drugs, sleeping pills, ulcer medication, steroids, painkillers, arthritis drugs, etc. The symptoms of depression among the elderly include sadness, unexplained aches and pains, loss of interest, weight loss, trouble sleeping, feeling like a burden, and neglecting to take care of themselves.
Many elderly claim that they are not sad at all and just say that they are simply lacking motivation, energy, and physical energy. It is a popular theory when you reach a certain age, you stay the way you are. On the contrary, the human brain is always changing so we are capable of learning and adapting to new things. In order for the elderly to treat their depression, they need to find new things to enjoy, adapt to change, be physically or socially active, and connect with others.
If you are always at home alone, it will make it easier to dwell on being lonely. It is important to change that by connecting with other people as much as you can. Others can invite you to visit them or you can invite others. If you are not able to see your loved ones as often as you want, you can still keep in touch through phone and email. You can also try to make new friends as well by joining a senior center, a book club, and find others who enjoy the same things as you do. You can also try going to more thinks like a concert, the park, getting your hair done, or having lunch with a friend. It may also help to volunteer your time to help others to feel a sense of belonging and meet new people.
It also important find ways to be physically active as exercise can help release those feel-good endorphins. It does not have to be anything intense but you can go for a short walk or swim a few laps in the pool when the sun is out. Even finding ways to be active like parking your car far from the lot or doing housework can help keep you fit. Having a pet can also help make you feel good by giving you a live-at-home companion who will give you a sense of purpose by taking care of him or her as well as give you company. This can also be a good opportunity to learn something new like a musical instrument, foreign language, a new game or sport, or taking a class in a subject you were always curious about. You should also find laughter in your life to help make you feel alive by telling funny stories to your friends, watching a funny movie, or reading a funny book.
Taking care of yourself is very vital to treating your depression as you should not be punishing your health. You can minimize your sugar intake and refined carbs to avoid having sugar crashes. Eat a lot of protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats for a satisfied and balanced diet. To avoid irritability, you should be eating every three to four hours. You should also get seven to nine hours of sleep and avoid alcohol and caffeine before you sleep to prevent getting insomnia. If you are taking medication for your depression, you should be carefully monitored as there are certain medications like Prozac that can cause rapid bone loss, fracture, and an increased risk of falling. If you notice any medications affecting your physical health or causing you to have suicidal thoughts, speak to your doctor about weaning off the medication or switching altogether.
Going to group counseling can help meet others by you, share your stories, and help find ways to cope with your experiences. Going to therapy can help you face life’s stresses, any chronic illness you have, and be able to share your experiences. You will be offered advice and encouragement from your therapist. No one should have to spend the later years of their life being depressed. If you are retired and your children are living their own lives, it is time for you to do that as well in happiness. By treating your depression, you will increase your chances of happiness.
Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 888 570 7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.