As an individual ages, they are more likely to suffer from depression, and even anxiety. In fact, seniors are one of the groups most likely to suffer from a feeling of loneliness and isolation at similar rates as nursing mothers. Depression can lead to a reduced quality-of-life and even have substantial health side effects that can potentially reduce an individual’s overall lifespan. The point is that depression and isolation is very common among seniors, but the good news is that there is quite a bit that can be done in order to either reduce or eliminate the feelings and symptoms as anyone ages. If you are looking for ways to reduce your depression, or you’re looking for ideas to help an aging family member, keep reading for tips to help avoid depression in seniors.
Address Any Underlying Illness
The first thing to look into is if there are any underlying illness that can be treated causing depression. Everything from insomnia to hearing loss can cause individuals to withdraw from their typically prefered activities, but they can typically be treated or addressed in some way. Other, more substantial illnesses, such as Parkinson’s or arthritis, can cause substantial depression which can then increase pain as well. It’s important to take a two pronged approach with underlying illnesses by both treating the illness and the depression simultaneously. There are also many adaptive technologies, such as hearing aids and walkers, that can help to reduce the complications from various health ailments.
In order to help avoid depression from occurring in the first place, or to help treat it, it’s important to get active. Any type of movement that fits your fitness levels can help to reduce depressive symptoms and can help to reduce pain. This could mean going for a walk each day or participating in a morning stretching classes specifically designed for seniors. The more you move, the better you will feel. This isn’t just true for seniors, but also true for anyone dealing with depression or chronic pain.
One of the top isolating factors that affect a senior, especially when they’re in their own home, is the lack of transportation. Many seniors are unable to drive, and because of this, they become isolated and depressed. Providing accessible transportation, whether through family, teaching them how to use public transportation, or assisted living transportation services, can make the difference between isolation and having a fulfilling life. Senior care is never easy, but providing important necessities, like trips to the grocery store or church, can make a substantial difference.
Individuals who are depressed or anxious probably struggle with joining in group activities, but they can help reduce the feelings of isolation and loneliness. Whether that means moving into an assisted living facility to be around other individuals or it means sticking to a schedule of church events and regular bingo nights, finding something that works well for an individual suffering from depression can help to bring that individual out of the depressive feelings. It’s important to try and stick to a schedule so that there are no excuses for missing a group activity.
Create a Sense of Purpose
This is probably one of the hardest parts of depression in seniors to address. Creating a sense of purpose can be hard in a society that no longer does group child rearing. Many countries have found that incorporating child care facilities in with senior homes can make a big difference in all the individuals’ lives. Whether it’s having a pet to care for or being involved with family, it’s important to make sure seniors feel needed in some way. Even volunteering can be beneficial. If a senior is adept at knitting or crochet, there are many organizations always in need of donated items. Finding a purpose is a key component to reducing depression and improving an individual’s quality-of-life.
Depression doesn’t have to come with age. There are many different ways to avoid it or combat it with help. Here at Garden Hill Assisted Living, in Pickens County, we work hard to provide the best senior care in Columbus. This often means helping to address depression. Contact our facility to learn more about what we can do to help and to schedule your tour.