Depression is not a sign of weakness, nor is it a sign that something is inherently wrong with your elderly loved one.
As our nation’s population ages, we’re seeing that there are large proportions of them getting depressed as they get older. Depression in the elderly is associated with an increased risk of cardiac diseases and an increased risk of death from illness. Today, we’re looking at some strategies to combat depression in the elderly.
Like the medical alert button your parents wear, you are there to help your loved ones have the best and most productive life possible. It’s both of your jobs to encourage people to thrive, despite the odds and the other situations around.
Exercise – Our bodies were meant to move. Object in motion tends to remain in motion, and all of that. Moreover, getting the blood pumping helps get more blood to the brain and helps break free of that depression. If you're not sure where to start, check out the 15-Minute Senior Workout video below, or try these easy fun activities for seniors that are easy for anyone.
Volunteering – One of the reasons that our older loved ones are getting depressed is that they don’t feel useful. Volunteering is a way to give back to the community and instill that usefulness once more. It tends to return the meaning to life.
Sleep – There are two ways that depression can have an effect on your older loved one. Sleeping levels is one of those ways – either too much or too little. When they get the sleep that they need, they will be more awake, alive, and vibrant.
Taking Care of Animals – A dog, a cat, even a bunny or a hamster can provide great joy. You are their lifeline, their safety net against all that might cause harm or damage to them. Or check out our favorite "Bird Lady" from Key West who has made it her mission to take care of these beautiful birds and share her love with tourists.
Encourage Stories – Your person most likely has a wealth of stories that they’ve never told. Give them the opportunity to tell stories and feel alive once more by reliving the memories.
Encourage Skills – You’re never too old to learn, and the learning of a new skill might help in your loved one’s continuing development. This is like getting a lifeline for the spirit, building on it and growing. Think you can't teach and old dog new tricks? Check out this research on adoption of technology among seniors.
Improve diet – Food plays a huge part in the levels of depression in older people. Bad diet can increase feelings of depression. You can even ask a senior to be in charge of something special and bring over a side dish for a family meal.
Socialization – Socialization is one of the best and easiest way to avoid feeling isolated. Encourage your older loved one to hang out with their friends and embrace the wonders of those friendships that have been built up over the years. There’s nothing that can replace a great friend. Make sure your loved ones have one.
Together, you can beat depression in its forms. If changing all of these doesn’t make the grade, then going to a doctor might be in order.