When you get older, it is not just physical health that should be concern but also mental health; and depression should be something to consider. People in their later years are more prone to depression because they tend to lose more of their loved ones, no longer as active as their younger selves, and/or suffer from chronic illness that contribute to stress and depression level. This is very dangerous and debilitating, and can keep elderly people live a full life.
Symptoms of Depression in Aging Process
Whether you are a caretaker, a family member of someone aging, or even experiencing aging process yourself, you need to recognize main symptoms and warning signs of deteriorating mental health that can lead to depression, such as:
- Easily getting irritated, sad or having ‘empty’ feeling.
- Continuous lack of energy to do daily activities, often just want to sit or sleep all day.
- Often crying or feeling anxious without apparent causes.
- Drastic changing in daily activity pattern such as sleeping, working out, working, and eating. For example: overeating or refusing to eat properly.
- Losing interests in daily activities or hobbies.
- Losing interests in sex and intimacy.
- Easily getting ill, headache, or experiencing pains and heaviness on body parts without causes.
- General feeling of uselessness.
- Having suicidal thoughts and constantly thinking about death.
These symptoms are definitely alarming and should not escape your attention. Depression is a complicated condition, involving physical, mental, and emotional aspects, so caretakers and family members of elderly people must pay attention to these signs. You can also look for assistance or mental health service in dealing with these symptoms if you experience them.
How to Deal with Depression when Aging
Everyone has unique condition, and so does the types of depression he or she can have. However, it is generally agreed that depression among elderly people is mostly triggered by lack of engagement, lack of self value, and long term stress because of physical conditions. Therefore, it is important for elderly people to keep feeling energized, needed, and meaningful in daily activities. The forms of support for elderly people who experience onset of depression must involve these aspects, adjusted with their daily life and conditions.
Many elderly people refuse to get hold back by age, and continue to play active roles in family and society. They keep working, creating things, doing various hobbies, or engaging in social and voluntary activities. These are very important things that can keep depression at bay; being active improving self confidence, self actualization, life energy, and brain activity. People who keep engaging in various challenging hobbies for brain such as playing chess, playing musical instruments, reading, writing or painting are usually able to hold back onset of dementia and other aging ailments.
Aging process is a period when depression can hit easily, triggered by various factors such as lack of fulfilling activities, illness, and lack of support and love from family members. In order to live full life, elderly people need to be active in brain engaging activities, feeling useful through various social engagements in various levels, and get constant support in physical and mental health from family members, spouses, and/or caretakers.