Are you besieged with feelings of being destitute and hopelessness? Have you lost interest in some of the things that you enjoyed doing initially? Then you could be creeping into depression (Qualls & Knight, 2006). Depression can happen to any individual as we age, regardless of our social, financial and political background. With the precise upkeep and treatment, you can boost the way you feel. Unfortunately, many of the depressed persons do not recognize the symptoms of depression and therefore are not attended to in the right way.
Man elderly persons in depression are usually overlooked. They are assumed to have good reasons to be down or to be demotivated, they may be isolated as this alone can lead to depression and since there is no one is around to notice the distress in the elderly, and it, therefore, progresses into depression (Qualls & Knight, 2006). At times the elderly experience physical complaint and this could be signs of depression and lack of this recognition gradually lead to depression in the elderly. It is important to urge the elderly in our society to speak out of the issues that affect them, they should talk about how they feel, and the necessary assistance should be availed in the right time.
It is very crucial to understand the signs and symptoms of depression in the elderly; this would assist in ensuring they are given medication or taken to a counselor to avoid getting to the extreme adverse effects. Some of the symptoms include; unexplained and aggravated aches and pains, this is where the elderly are seen to always complain of endless pains, they should consider depression (Qualls & Knight, 2006). At times they have the feeling of feeling sad and in desperation. Also, they may be seen to lack interest in socializing; they enjoy staying in solitude. At other times depression is characterized by loss of appetite and a subsequent loss of weight, they lack motivation and energy. It can also be signaled by sleep disturbances whereby the elderly may have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, oversleeping, or daytime sleepiness; it should not be mistaken for being lazy. There is also loss of self-worth, they feel worried that they may be a burden to the people around them, they feel worthless. Depressed elderly persons are heard to talk of death more, they act suicidal, and if they are not given the necessary support, they can end up taking their own lives (Conn, 2006). They also increase their use of alcohol and other drugs, neglecting personal care like skipping meals, neglecting personal hygiene and even forgetting medications. When these signs are noticed on our elderly ones, they should be given the right support so as to ascertain what could be the cause of depression.
There are a number of factors that are seen to contribute to elderly depression; health problems, illness, and disability, chronic or severe pains, damage to body image as a result of sicknesses and surgery. When isolated, the elderly can easily creep into depression, death of loved ones lack of mobility due to loss of privileges and illnesses can all contribute to depression of the elderly persons. Reduced sense of purpose, loss of identity after retirement or physical limitations on activities you enjoy doing, can lead to depression. There are those who are engulfed in the fear of death, fear of financial instability and also fear of experiencing health issues like cancer contributes to depression. In case of bereavement, where there is recent death of a person they treasure, it can be their children, family members friends, loss of spouse can also cause lead to depression.
When depression creeps in, the elderly lacks motivation to do almost everything or even see or talk to anyone, but this will only worsen the situation (Conn, 2006). Therefore it is important to make connections, having new friends so as to reduce the time spent alone. There are several ways on ways that you can enhance connectivity. First, seek out face-to-face connections. If you cannot get out on your own, it is important to invite loved ones to visit you; this will reduce the concentration on the things that could worsen the depression. To overcome depression and to avoid it back we need to engage and enjoy a strong purpose to live, when you are disconnected with people or activities that kept you engaged it is important to find new alternatives, you can do this by volunteering your time by helping others this will help in expansion of your social network (Conn, 2006). Also one can join a depression support group, being with people whom you share problems with will help reduce the sense of isolation and also you can share ideas on some of the things that you can do or avoid to cope depression. Also learning, a new skill that you can enjoy doing, this will help reduce the time that you are idle.
If you have an elderly person who is around you and depressed, you should engage them to give emotional support, listen to them with patience and compassion (Conn, 2006). Their feelings and character should not be criticized, but point out realities and offer support. Help them find a doctor and walk with them through the depression period, do not subject them to stigma as this will deteriorate the situation. Also, try to understand what caused the depression so as to avoid it coming back.
Other ways in which you can assist the depressed persons recover is by; inviting them out, this will increase the feeling of being loved. Do activities like walks, arts class, a trip to the movies, this provides for physical and mental stimulation (Conn, 2006). Also, schedule for regular social activities like outings, visits to friends and family members, this will help combat solitude and will make them feel better when around people they love or when doing activities that they enjoy. Ensure that they are feeding healthy, a poor diet can only worsen depression; prepare .a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grain meals, and some proteins in every meal. Encourage the affected persons to carry through the treatment, if treatment is stopped, depression can recur, accompany them for their dates with the doctors to ensure that they complete the whole medication, also ensure the medication are taken as prescribed and at the right time, discourage use of alcohol during medication, it can be tempting to take alcohol as it gives some relief physically and emotionally, but it makes symptoms of depression and anxiety. It also impairs the brain function and has negative interactions with medication (Conn, 2006). It is also to watch out for suicide warnings, if you think or feel they are acting suicidal seek professional help immediately, also monitor their movements.
In conclusion, depression among the elderly persons is real; we cannot object that the only thing we can do differently is how we handle our affected persons, lets support them and try to engage them continuously to avoid the adverse effects of depression like suicide.
Conn, P. M. (2006). Handbook of models for human aging. Amsterdam: Elsevier Academic Press.
Qualls, S. H., & Knight, B. G. (2006). Psychotherapy for depression in older adults. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.
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