As we age, life continues to throw new problems our way. Of these, one of the greatest and most troublesome are the health issues that are associated with old age. Whether physical or mental, a deterioration in our health takes a serious toll on not just our bodies, but also our emotional wellbeing and lifestyle. While physical illnesses and ailments are widely recognized, and treatments for them offered in abundance, our mental state is often overlooked. Amongst the elderly, depression is one of the most common mental illnesses that prevails, and it is crucial to implement ways that it can be overcome.
Depression – The Basics
Before we delve into the intricacies of resolving this condition, it is a good idea to get a grip on its basics. Depression, which is also known as major depressive disorder, is a mental illness that affects an individual’s behaviour and mood. In essence, it brings about a continuous feeling of despair, sadness, and a sudden lack of interest.
When depression occurs in aging adults, the risks are increased as it is often combined with other medical conditions and disabilities that tend to persist for longer. Typically, depression is correlated to heightened chances of cardiac arrests and a higher disease-caused mortality rate.
Depression – What to Do Now that You’ve Got it
Unfortunately, only about 10% of aging adults receive treatment for their depression, making it all the more important for solutions to be recognized and practiced.
Here are our top five ways to combat depression in aging adults:
Those suffering from depression often tend to self-isolate as social interaction begins to seem like a daunting task. However, going through this period in your life alone is not advisable since this will only result in lost perspective and an increased sense of dejectedness. Instead, reaching out to those around you and staying connected is sure to help you fight your depression. From simple activities like going to a local park, grabbing lunch with a friend, or enjoying a day of window shopping, getting out of the house can do wonders to lift your mood. Other ways to build social links are joining a depression support group, signing up for a fitness class, or even adopting a pet! Remember, the more your interaction; the less likely your brain is to sink into a pit of despair.
The journey to combatting depression becomes much more effective when the concerned individual has a strong sense of purpose in life. As we get older, we find ourselves responsible for less and less. Our education comes to a still, we retire from our jobs, and our children start to focus more on their individual lives. Slowly, we find ourselves with practically nothing to do, and this is where it gets concerning for those with depression. To overcome this rough patch in your life, it is important to find something new to busy yourself with. You could pick up a new hobby, learn a skill, mingle with the neighbourhood or travel, among many other options!
3) Stay Healthy!
Although depression is a mental state, your physicality plays a part in how the condition unravels. People who are suffering from depression often let themselves go as they do not have the energy to put in effort in maintaining their appearance. However, one of the key secrets to successfully combating depression lies in having a healthy body. Individuals should get in some form of physical activity on the daily, with the intensity adjusted to suit their abilities. And remember, just because you are not engaging in a full-blown workout does not mean that your preferred form of exercise is any less! Additionally, it is also important to take care of the body by providing it with a healthy diet and adequate amounts of sleep and sunshine. As for foods, proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbs are go-to categories for a happy mind.
While the early stages of depression can be cured by taking effective measures yourself, more serious cases call for professional attention. There is no shame in seeking care for your mental wellbeing, and it is surprising how helpful its impact can be. There are many avenues that individuals can explore, including counselling, therapy, and support groups. While the best method for you can only be determined through trial and error, it is important to remember that there is no one solution when it comes to curing depression.
5) Do Not View Life as Coming to an End
It is natural to develop mortality anxiety as we age, and the impending thought of our death can take a major depressive toll on our mental state. No matter where you stand on the age counter, it is important to feel positive for the years ahead and recognize that there is still plenty of opportunity to make new memories, try out new things, and to meet new people. In reality, having this mindset is not always the easiest, so it is good to set small weekly goals for yourself that make you feel like you’re on the right track.
So, there you have it, five simple ways depression can be overcome in aging adults!