- Aging & Longevity
What You Can Do When Our Older Adults Are Depressed
Statistics Are To High
There are some extremely alarming statistics showing the rise of depression in the elderly. A shocking 90% of seniors are not getting the care they need. Depression affects more than 6.5 million Americans in the United States, and 35 million of them are 65 years or older. It is a misconception that once you hit retirement age you are happy to finally not be working. This is not always true for everyone.
Oftentimes it is completely the opposite. It is an uncertain adjustment many seniors are not ready to make. They suddenly have an enormous amount of time on their hands. Depression in the elderly is not the norm, and should be taken with genuine seriousness.
As our parents get older there are many new challenges they must face. They need to apopt a new lifestyle. Adapting to this new lifestyle may be a hardship for our parents. That is why it is important to be educated about the signs a depressed parent, and what steps you can take to help them combat depression if it exists.
Some of the changes they may face can include loss of their well deserved income, letting go of friendships in the workplace, the beginnings of memory loss, and all the physical changes to their bodies they never expected.
Signs Your Parent Might Be Depressed
→ Sadness and hopelessness
→ Thoughts of suicide
→ Physical ailments
→ Crying and sadness
→ Mood and emotional outbursts
→ Inability to sleep
→ No energy
→ Changes in weight
→ Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
Depression is a very treatable illness. The option most often found to be helpful, is a combination of anti-depressants and visiting a therapist. Talking to a therapist can be a great comfort in relieving depressive symptoms.
Diagnosis, Treatment and Ways To Feel Better
A family doctor or a psychiatrist can usually diagnosis depression in our parents depending on many factors. Looking closely at the signs and symptoms of depression, how long they have been depressed, lifestyle changes and genetics, all of which, can play a major role in a depressive parent.
Most often an antidepressant is prescribed. The doctor may also encourage exercise and other recreational activities to stay active. Research suggests psychotherapy alone may relieve depressive symptoms if your parent does not want to take medications. This option is one many older adults like.
Recreational Activities For Your Parent
Staying active by doing the things they enjoy for fun and relaxation enrichs their lives for the better. Getting involved with our parents by sharing activities with them can help boost their moods for the better. Loneliness is very high on the list for depression in older adults. Some things you can do to add enjoyment to the older adult in your life. They may not always show it, but they will be glad you participated in their day.
→ Take a walk in the mall or visit a museum. Go where there are other people.
→ For housebound parents, Get books on DVD for them to listen too. Check your library for the latest or favorite titles. Dig up a favorite author and grab a stack.
→ Join Netflix. It is a good way to watch their favorite shows, and movies. Pick titles you can enjoy together. A good way for your older adult to keep current on shows and movies.
→ The internet is full of fun things to do. Games, e-mail, internet surfing. Give your parent some computer skills, if they haven't already found them on their own. A computer is an excellent gift for an older adult.
→ Have weekly pot luck with family and friends. Invite a neighbor. This helps our parent make new friends, while remaining social.
→ Join a senior center. They offer meals, games, and other activities. This can be done daily or even just once a week if possible. A great way to get out and about.
→ Find hobbies, Help your parent find new hobbies. This might include: writing, photography, bird watching, sewing, woodworking, reading, painting and a number of other hobbies.
→ Join a class at the local college, or school. Many classes are offered free of charge or at a lower cost for older adults.
It is important we our parents, aunts, uncles, any older relatives you know, stay in touch with friends and family. If you live a distance from your parent, write letters, call them regularly, get some face-time with them, and visit as often as you can. Being around family and friends encourages wellness, and helps them be more positive.
Encouraging our parents to exercise, and stay active as much as possible. Even if it means walking up and down the hall, or just kicking your arms and legs. Encourage movement. This alone is one step toward combating depression. It will make our older adults feel alive and wanted.
Check Out The Many Resource For Those Over 50
- Recreational Activities for the Elderly | LoveToKnow
Recreational activities for your elderly parent are essential. Just because they are older doesn't mean they can't enjoy recreational activities.
- HOBBIES for Senior Citizens
A huge site full of hobbies, and activities aimed for those over 50 to enjoy. You will find a ton of resources, tips, links and much more, all for free.
- Elderly Parents Activities
Elderly Parents Activities to keep mind and body active are key to a healthy lifestyle. Many things to enjoy doing with your elderly parent.