Few would disagree that depression has become one of the most common conditions among the population. Depression in the elderly is no exception.
It once might have been frowned upon, and those suffering might not have received any type of support. However, the fact that this mental disorder, including depression in the elderly, has made its way into the mainstream news now means that this is slowly changing.
Certain groups of people are much more likely to suffer from depression than others, though. It has been found that the risks of the elderly succumbing to depression are much higher than younger people. And the nature of their life means that depression in the elderly is an obvious concern.
Bearing this in mind, today’s post will take a look at some of the ways that you can stay on top of your mental health during your advancing years, so you can ultimately enjoy your retirement much more.
Don’t combine it with a physical problem
In truth, this is something for your doctor to dissect. But one of the big problems with depression in the elderly is that they think their depression is linked to a physical ailment. In some cases, it can be, but it really needs to be diagnosed.
Take Parkinson’s disease as an example. This is something that can wreak havoc with your brain’s chemistry. It means that some people believe that they are depressed directly because of a condition like Parkinson’s.
As it turns out, the two can play out separately. You need to treat both in isolation, and not operate under the belief that your depression “might” be caused by something else. Sure, there will be cases where there might be a link. Still, more often than not science suggests they are separate.
Understand the differences with grief
Following on from the previous point, something that is really important is to understand the differences between grief and depression. In some ways, both invoke the same feelings. As the elderly are more likely to lose close relatives and friends during these years, it can be easy to become confused between the two.
Put simply, grief tends to be temporary. It can hurt more than depression at times. However, it has been regularly described as a rollercoaster of emotions. At one point, you might feel completely fine, but moments later, your symptoms of grief might have returned.
We’re by no means suggesting that you should ever ignore signs of declining mental health. At the same time, understanding the reasons behind it can be really important for your recovery.
Eradicate life worries
A common misconception about retirement is that suddenly a lot of the worries you had during your “younger days” are banished. After all, you are most probably happily settled. You no longer have the rigors of a job to concern yourself with.
Unfortunately, a whole host of other concerns enter the picture. Paying for elderly care might be one of these, while even covering the cost of your own funeral might be another.
Of course, it will be easier for some of you than others. But try and take steps to eradicate such financial woes and take a burden from your mind.
Alcohol is even more frowned upon
We are constantly hearing about the perils of alcohol. Yet, recent studies have shown that substance abuse is something affecting 17% of people over 60. This is unusually high for this age group.
There is concrete proof out there that alcohol is a depressive. This is particularly true when you are more likely to be taking medication which might not interact positively with alcohol. So this is something you need to be aware of.
Treat insomnia as a priority
Studies show that the aging process makes us sleepless in the non-REM levels of sleep. It means that as an older person, you probably won’t sleep as well. The next scientific fact is that 80% of depressed people often don’t get enough sleep.
It means that joining the dots at least, you need to pay particular attention to your sleep problems. If you can look to resolve this, your levels of depression might decrease no-end and your quality of life will improve.
A closing summary
Following on from the above points, it’s clear that depression in the elderly can be a significant problem – which is sometimes misunderstood. By focusing on the areas we have covered, you can take a proactive approach to the issue and tackle it before it becomes a blighting problem in your life.