March 2nd, 2017
The Rolling Stones famously sang “What a drag it is getting old.” And truth be told it can truly be a drag – mentally – for many senior citizens. In fact, roughly one-fourth of people age 65 or older suffer from depression, and more than half of doctor’s visits by the elderly involve complaints of emotional distress.
With that said, here are some important ways that you can help a loved one combat senior depression:
Correctly Identify the Depression. This means that depression that results from conditions such as cancer, strokes, or Parkinson’s disease may need to be assessed and treated differently from depression caused by grief.
Monitor Alcohol Consumption. You may be surprised to hear that alcohol and drug abuse are very prevalent among people over the age of 60 – and though loneliness or chronic pain may seem like legitimate reasons to imbibe, remember that alcohol is a depressant.
Promote Moderate Exercise. No matter your age, exercise can be good therapy without necessarily being over-taxing. An activity like Tai Chi is great, because it can teach agility, slow movements, and coordination between body and mind.
Treat Insomnia. Quality sleep is vital to both physical and mental well-being, and poor sleep can further compound depression.
Help Them to Find Purpose. It’s been said by some that “purpose is like glue – it holds a person’s life together.” So by helping your loved one to find an activity that matters – from babysitting, to collecting recyclables for their apartment complex – you could not only decrease their depression but increase their life expectancy.