Depression is not a natural part of ageing, depression is a real and treatable medical disorder. However, depression is more common among older people. If you are concerned, offer to accompany your loved one to the clinic so they can be tested and treated.
Depression isn’t just about experiencing the ‘gloomy’ or feeling of losing a loved one. It’s a real disease that can be cured, like diabetes or high blood pressure.
How do you know if it’s a depression?
Anxiety or melancholy that lasts for weeks on end are symptoms of depression.
- the absence of hope and/or pessimism
- remorse, worthlessness, and/or hopelessness
- Anger and restlessness
- Loss of hobby in sports or pursuits that had been as soon as enjoyable
- Weakness and reduced energy
- Concentration, memory, and decision-making challenges
- Oversleeping, early morning vigilance, or insomnia
- overeating or a lack of appetite
- Suicidal ideation and attempts
- constant pain, migraines, cramps, or stomach problems that do not improve after treatment
How depression different in older people
Older folks are more vulnerable. We are aware that 50% of older persons have two or more chronic health conditions, with roughly 80% of them having one or more. People who also have other illnesses (such cancer or heart disease) or whose function is restricted are more likely to experience depression.
Undertreatment and misdiagnosis are common in older adults. Healthcare professionals could disregard an older adult’s depressive symptoms because they believe they are merely a normal response to disease or other changes in life that may come with ageing. This idea is often shared by older people themselves who often avoid seeking help because they are unaware that proper treatment will make them feel better.
Encourage a feeling of direction
People who have lost interest and meaning in life struggle much harder with depression. Encourage elders to engage in pastimes such as knitting or gardening to avoid loneliness and rumination. Additionally, you can persuade them to try social pastimes such as card games, yoga, or community service volunteering in your community.
Promote interpersonal communication
Encourage your loved one to see friends and relatives, participate in group trips, and go to local events rather than letting them handle their sadness on their own. Studies show that an active social life improves physical, mental and emotional health. This is very important for older people who struggle with loneliness and sadness.
Maintain their physical activity
Physical activity can save the lives of elderly people, according to research. An elderly person can maintain good physical, mental, and emotional health by engaging in gentle exercises like walking, stair climbing, and workouts that are appropriate for their age. You might also urge the depressed person to enrol in a class that involves group exercise, such as yoga or tai chi; they might even meet people who share their interests.
Ensure they consume wholesome food.
Knowing what foods to feed an elderly person who is depressed will make dealing with their condition simpler. complete grains, lean protein and fibre-rich foods like fruits and vegetables are essential for seniors. Control sugar intake, carbohydrates, and harmful fats, and serve veggies that are very lightly cooked.
Give them a task to complete
Older people who live alone are often caught in a wave of pessimism. It would be great thing if you could give them a significant task. Dogs are ideal companions for energetic seniors. Because it keeps your body busy, makes you feel loved and needed, and encourages social interaction.
Tell them you adore them
Love is what makes the world go around and it can help a senior maintain control over their depression. Senior citizens should receive lots of hugs, as well as expressions of your love and need for them. For bereaved seniors who require greater love and assistance to cope with bereavement, expressions of affection are especially crucial.
Addressing sleep issues
Many elderly people who live alone are prone to sleep issues, which can make depression worse. Make sure the older adult has a regular sleep schedule and doesn’t take daytime naps to prevent significant depression episodes. If you’re having trouble sleeping at sunset, keep something interesting nearby, or some essential medicine.
Play puzzles and word games.
According to Everyday Health, elders can keep their minds engaged while maintaining social connections by playing intellectually demanding activities with others. Play some games like checkers or chess. Join a bridge organization or play poker.
Social isolation among seniors is an increasing issue, which has an impact on their physical and mental health and raises their mortality risk. 1 in 5 older people have no contact with friends or relatives. . Maintaining social engagement as we age is essential to keep the brain active and stimulated while reducing the risk of cognitive decline. It not only gives you a chance to socialise with others but it also strengthens your body’s defences, eases discomfort, and lowers blood pressure.