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Help with Depression Pertaining to Aging

Depression Pertaining to Aging

Depression, for many older people, is a significant health problem. It's not because they're old, people do not become depressed simply because they're growing older. Things happen in later life that put aging health in danger, which eventually leads to aging depression.

Now, those things can be major. It could be a loss of a partner. It could be a period of physical illness. It may be even going to live in a care home.

In truth, most elderly people negotiate that very well indeed. What's far more likely to make a person depressed are the daily hassles of life. Fretting and worrying they might trip and fall when they're home or outside. Or maybe, it's the past, they review their life and they dwell on regrets, failings, and disappointments. Or it could be a future, they fret and worry because they fear future losses. So, it's a sense of foreboding.

But maybe what's also significant is the culture they live in. For so many elderly people what they're exposed to is being ignored, ridiculed, not given respect and that depresses the person as well.

Symptoms of Depression in Older People

 Just because depression in common, it doesn't mean it's easily recognized. In fact, it's often under-diagnosed, partly because depression is complex. The major signs include being alone, being miserable, but often not tearful. It's what professionals are calling the absence of emotion.

Behavior changes, people become apathetic, lethargic, withdrawn. Everything is too much effort. They sleep poorly, they wake up early. They eat very little so their weight falls off. Their thinking becomes negative, pessimistic. But sometimes the problems makes us feel there is something wrong when, in fact, there is nothing wrong.

For example, they fret about their health. They complain about their medication, so we think it's a physical illness. But sometimes, the effort to think, and communicate and remember becomes so great, that they don't. So it looks like it's dementia and that's the misdiagnosis.

Helping Older People with Depression

 So how do we help somebody who is depressed become healthy again? Understandably, we can prescribe antidepressants. Now, for many people, they work. But they are rarely the complete answer. They can open up a window of opportunity and we have to think of ways of helping whilst that window is open.

How do we help that person? Well, we give them back some control, some choice. Don't dictate to them. Give them choices about what they might wear, and what they might eat. Bring some pleasure, interest, and reward in their lives and challenge that negativity. Because nobody's lived a life where there's been no success, no enjoyment, no value.

For somebody who is depressed, they will benefit from talking about their past because that was a time they would have enjoyed, their life was rich and so it makes a lot of sense to reflect upon those times. So using pictures, photographs, music, you can tap into who that person was and bring their history back to life again.

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