Death of spouse, loneliness and illnesses are responsible for emotional distress in the elderly. If the aged people are unable to handle the challenges of life that they encounter as they age, they can suffer from depression. It is estimated that about a quarter of senior citizens above 65 years are victims of depression. Among individuals who commit suicide out of depression, about 20 percent are senior citizens. Depression in the elderly often appears to be more complicated than depression in younger individuals.
Treating Elderly depression
Illness and depression
Chronic illnesses and depression tend to coexist in older adults. Older adults suffering from cancer and stroke are prone to depression. While family members and physicians are concerned more about the physical health of the seniors, the condition of their mental health is usually overlooked. Neglecting the mental health exacerbates their depression. To prevent depression, the mental health of aged individuals should be treated simultaneously with their physical ailments. Elderly depression could be a symptom of degeneration of the brain cells, resulting in debilitating illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Poor sleep or lack of sleep increases the risk of depression. Insomnia and sleeping difficulties are common in older adults. The duration of non-REM sleep decreases with age. Older people often wake up frequently throughout the night. To prevent depression, insomnia should be treated. According to statistics, nearly 80 percent of depressive individuals suffer from insomnia.
About 10 to 15 percent of older adults who are unable to overcome grief caused by the death of a loved one become chronically depressed. The younger members of the family should help the older members overcome grief.
As you grow older, your social circle will shrink as your near ones die. Beating loneliness is a major challenge for the elderly. Seniors can beat loneliness by making new friends, joining social organizations and learning new activities. Always carry pictures of your loved ones with you. When you see their pictures, you can recall happy memories, which would lift your mood.
Moderate exercises could improve the quality of your health and will make you happier. Meditation can help to overcome mental distress and calms your mind, helping you to meet the challenges of old age.