Dealing with Depression

Posted on

Apr 10, 2018

Share This
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 6.5 million Americans aged 65 or older are affected by depression.
While some adults with depression may have been managing the disease for a number of years, others experience depression for the first time later in life.
Symptoms of depression in people older than age 65 include:

Social withdrawal
Loss of appetite
Loss of interest in activities
Feelings of guilt and/or worthlessness
Feelings of hopelessness

Unlike typical feelings of sadness, loneliness or grief, depression does not go away on its own and may last for months or years at a time if untreated.

No one knows exactly what causes depression, but some circumstances or diseases can increase the risk of depression. In the elderly, hormonal changes can be a factor, as can physical illnesses such as dementia, Alzheimers disease, arthritis, Parkinsons disease and certain thyroid disorders. Major life changessuch as retirement, the loss of a loved one or the diagnosis of a major diseasemay also trigger depression.

Diagnosis Difficulties

Because depression can mimic symptoms of other diseases, early signs may be misdiagnosed. Before diagnosis and treatment of depression, physical tests should be conducted to rule out other illnesses.

Depression can also be mistakenly considered a normal part of aging, both by doctors and by senior adults. Some seniors may also see depression as a character flaw and feel uncomfortable asking for help. While all people experience life changes that can elicit grief or sadness, clinical depression is not something that should just be accepted as a part of getting older. Treatment options such as psychotherapy and antidepressants can help improve symptoms and quality of life for those suffering with depression at any age.

The MetroSouth Senior Behavioral Health Unit is an acute inpatient program to treat persons 55 years or older who are suffering from symptoms such as:

Overt prolonged sadness,
Excessive anxiety,
Sudden onset of disorientation and confusion,

Thoughts, behaviors, or plans of hurting themselves or others including poor judgment in day-to-day living.

For a confidential assessment, or more information, call (708) 824-4774.

Editors Note: This article was submitted by MetroSouth Medical Center.

Other Articles You May Like

3 Reasons You Get So Angry with Your Loved Ones Mental Health Issues

Caring for a senior who has mental health issues can be one of the hardest challenges someone faces in their life. A family caregiver might be able to face the daily challenges with grace, but sometimes, transferring a loved one into Senior living, Assisted Living or a Nursing Home is necessary. Making the decision to transfer can be exceptionally difficult because caregivers often feel like they should be able to care for their elderly mom or dad.The hardest part is initiating the process. Families often hesitate to call us for help because they feel embarrassed or worried about how their unpredictable loved ones are going to react. You dont have to find a good fit on you own. Stacys Helping Hand, Inc (Senior living) specializes in senior behavioral and mental health care. And, regardless of your situation, we will find a facility where your loved one has compassionate caregivers who can provide the needed support. We empower seniors with mental health issues to take ownership and find purpose in their lives. It is never too late.1. Likely They Had No Therapy or Took MedicationBecause of the time period your loved one was born, their Mental Health issues were likely either undiagnosed, denied or kept behind closed doors due to the stigma attached with a Mental Health diagnosis. Luckily today with modern science, doctors have a better understanding of what neurotransmitters are deficient and modern medicine can help improve their symptoms.2. Manipulation Is Interwoven with SymptomsAnother big factor can be the component of manipulation and using their illness as an excuse. Or they are not even aware of how manipulative they are being. We tell families that if dementia has set in, working through the manipulation may or may not be an option.3. Just Like a Child There Is No Manual to FollowTo put it bluntly, you may be worn out and cant see past the manipulation. It truly is hard to distinguish where the brain chemistry imbalances end and the manipulations begins. Mental health behaviors can be like a rope where you have to unwind the chords.Let Us Help. The First Step Is to Call Us.Your loved needs to help themselves and take ownership for their wellbeing. Asking a 3rd party professional to help your loved one transition can be a lifesaver for you. We can facilitate the process and make it the best experience possible. Each step is another weight off of your shoulders.Our senior care process is flexible for each individuals situation. As we get to know your loved one, you might be surprised by how well they respond to our questions. We have the ability to empower people with mental health issues so that they dont feel threatened. This is partly due to the fact that we are outside of the existing family dynamics, which certainly helps. But its also due to our expertise and approach a little compassion and understanding goes a long way.Our goal is to help your loved one re-discover the kid in themselves. It takes facilities a while to learn your loved ones needs. Most times manipulation is an unmet need, and the need to be in control of something. Unfortunately, the facility may or may not be able to make them happy, but they can have compassion.

Spotlighting Seniors & Mental Health

While diagnoses like dementia and Alzheimers are consistently at the forefront of the conversation, depressive disorders actually represent the #1 mental health issue among seniors. But depression and its many iterations consistently go unrecognized and untreated among seniors, a clear sign that more vigilance is needed to identify and sufficiently treat symptoms of depression before they escalate and potentially lead to more serious outcomes, such as major depressive episodes, self-destructive behaviors, and even suicide.Various lifestyle factors among seniors can act as powerful catalysts for depression, from declining physical abilities to the loss of friends and loved ones. However, the emphasis on seniors maintaining independence actually works against them in this case, making it less likely affected seniors will ask for or seek out the help they need in any sort of timely manner.Clearly, seniors and society as a whole can do better. So as we work to further the discussion about seniors and mental health, understanding these early warning signs and the many available tools and outlets for effectively dealing with mental health concerns is a crucial first step towards ensuring longer and more fulfilling lives for seniors.Early Warning SignsTheres a strong and very direct correlation between declining mental health and worsening physical health. So beyond just changes in mood, feeling sad or lonely, or deriving less joy from certain activities, paying less attention to personal grooming and appearance, changing eating or sleep patterns, or withdrawing from family or social activities should all raise concerns and not go unaddressed if noticed.Important warning signs to look for in order to identify mental health concerns in seniors include:Persistent sadnessTrouble falling asleep or sleeping too muchDecreased socializationLoss of interest in usual activitiesExcessive worryingIrritabilityFeeling worthless, helpless or hopelessChanges in appetiteCrying spellsTrouble focusing, remembering or making decisionsDeclining personal care and appearance7 Ways Seniors Can Improve Mental HealthAlthough seniors might be uniquely vulnerable, they are not helpless when it comes to combating mental health concerns. So whether its going on the offensive and taking preventive measures, or just being aggressive about soliciting help and support, using all available tools and resources is key to feeling better faster and continually cultivating an environment in which seniors are empowered and vigilant when it comes to ensuring their own mental health.Challenge the Mind: Spend time reading and/or writing, studying a foreign language or other subjects, playing an instrument, or doing puzzlesGet Physical: Take regular walks, make exercise an important part of life, and enjoy physical activities where possibleStay Connected with Friends: Stave off the ill effects of loneliness and isolation by remaining in regular contact with friends and loved ones. Technology like FaceTime and Skype make video calling simple and seamless, but theres always e-mail, sending letters or postcards, and old-fashioned phone calls, tooTake Part in Events & Activities: At senior living communities nationwide, activities programs are specially designed to offer a variety of recreation and social options, which leave seniors feeling more active, involved, and purposeful about their day-to-day livesVolunteering: Doing good for others is a great way to do good for ourselves, too. Giving time to worthy organizations from the local community helps support causes, but also makes the individual feel valued, appreciated, and more accomplished in the processCaring for a Pet: Animals offer unconditional love and companionship, and where appropriate, can keep seniors active and more engaged while leading their care. Alternatively, volunteering at a local animal shelter can have a similar effect without the full-time responsibilityGet Help: Its long past time to defeat the lingering stigmas about mental health and be proactive about asking for help. Medical professionals in both the office and residential setting are trained to recognize warning signs, but can also help expedite proper care for affected seniors.

8 ways to help with the emotions of moving

Even if you or a family member are excited to be moving to a senior living community or new home, there are bound to be a mix of emotions. Moving can be stressful and challenging even in the best of circumstances.   To help you and family members navigate your next move, weve gathered a few of our favorite tips to make handling all the emotional ups and downs a bit easier.   WayForth is here to make sure your move goes smoothly. Our moving professionals help with downsizing, packing and unpacking, storage services, and much more. Contact our team of experts today for help with your next move!   Get enough rest and dont skip meals  In the hustle and bustle of planning a move, its important to take care of yourself. Getting sleep and making sure youre eating properly can help keep your energy up and manage your emotions.    Work the way that works for you Some people are list makers. Others do better with a more unstructured plan. Take a minute to think how you best handle large projects and apply that to your move. Use the process that feels the most comfortable for your situation.    Break up big tasks Looking at a huge move can be overwhelming. Instead, break your tasks into smaller ones. Dont try to tackle the entire kitchen in one long day; take it one drawer at a time. Youll be less likely to get overwhelmed.    Let your feelings flow  Bottling up your emotions may backfire in the long run. If you need to have a good cry or get irritated, its perfectly normal. Let yourself feel the way you feel and then you can move on to the next day or task.    Ask for help  No one has to move alone. Reaching out to family, friends and professionals like the team at WayForth for help organizing, packing and cleaning can relieve some of the feelings of stress and worry.  To learn more about how to manage the stress of moving, read WayForth's full article here! If you want to learn more about WayForths move management and moving solutions including downsizing, packing and unpacking contact us today. How you move matters, move with WayForth.