There are many contributing factors to depression in a senior adult. As a person ages, health issues, death of loved ones and isolation can all have adverse effects on the persons mental health. Unfortunately depression affects more than just mood it can also disrupt sleep patterns, reduce energy levels and appetite. The good news is that depression does not have to be an inevitable part of the aging process.
Below are five signs that a senior adult may be depressed:
- Lack of motivation and energy
- Loss of interest in socializing
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Neglecting personal care
- Loss of appetite
There are some easy self-help things that seniors can do to boost their resistance to depression and get back their feeling of well being. Research now suggests that physical activity is just as powerful as anti-depressant drugs and has the added benefit of having no side effects. If the senior is physically able to get out and walk, do some light housework or gardening it will go a long way in boosting their mood in a positive way.
Finding ways to limit isolation and to connect with others is also known to help keep the blues away. If the senior has difficulty going out to socialize he/she could invite loved ones or possibly church members to visit on a regular basis. Also consider senior communities many of which have out-reach programs for senior adults.
Volunteering is another great way to feel good about yourself by helping others. If the senior is physically able there are usually dozens of volunteer opportunities available throughout most communities.
Finding new things to do and keeping the brain active are important in the fight against depression. It is a myth that an older person cannot learn new skills and if he/she is able to adapt to change stay active and socially connected it will ultimately lead to better mental health.