Have you been unable to come to terms with the emotional changes that you seem to be undergoing? Has life seemed to have lost the charm and appeal? Are you struggling to spend the day without your mind plaguing you with bickering thoughts? If you happen to be a victim to all these, don’t worry you’re not alone. Depression though is not an inevitable part of aging but often victimizes adults who are under medication, are in a stressful life situation or have the likelihood of developing a mental illness or disability that usually lasts longer.
How does senior depression differ from that in younger adults?
Older adults are often plagued with depression and it tends to go on to affect several areas of one’s life including your strength and ability to carry out everyday tasks, suppressed or aggravated appetite, sleep disorders, and lack of interest in relationships, hobbies, and work. Out of all the disorders that geriatric mood disorder affected individuals face, sleep apnea or any other sleeping disorders are the ones seen most prevalent.
You might feel discomforted by minute changes in your bedroom, the bed on which you sleep or an even voice of your family members affect your eardrums harshly. If so, you are my friend ‘a depressed soul’. Make sure all the things are in order in your room so that no externality can affect your sleep. Buy yourself a new comfortable mattress but not forget to get an overview of the latest mattress brands to come out. Physicians are generally of the opinion that a good quality sleep often helps in treating the patients with geriatric mood disorders and it is part of their treatment regime.
However, depressed seniors tend to overlook these symptoms many times as they are mistaken for mood fluctuations due to age. They may be hesitant to complain about them or continue to live with it until other mental burdens break them down. Some of the most common reasons of old age depression is:
- With old age come loneliness and the fact that your loved ones abandon you can lead to fewer people being available to notice your signs of depression.
- Being physically fatigued and tired all the time is also sign that you are plunging into depression.
- Too much emotional trauma, i.e. the loss of a loved one and the fear of the inevitable death overtaking you.
Depression is nothing to be ashamed of, as it a natural state of the mind and can progressively deteriorate your mental condition. Hence, it is important that it is timely identified and corrected least it develops or further aggravates other mental conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
To make sure your loved one is diagnosed with any such condition on time, you can trust them with a caregiver who will assist them in the very vicinity of their home and allow them to discover their mental and emotional state. Depression can be effectively screened for by asking a series of standard questions helping both the patient and the senior caregiver or physician to treat the person accordingly.
There are certain therapies that are used to cure the older adults with mild to moderate depression and sufficient cognitive capacity to benefit from an interactive approach. Treatment of late-life depression generally begins with psychotherapy or a mix of both – psychotherapy and an anti-depressant. Psychotherapies are all evidence-based for adults and include cognitive-behavioral therapy, problem-solving therapy, and interpersonal therapy.
The thin line separating grief and depression
Depression is a dangerous state of the mind, which can progressively chip away at your mental stability. The fact that you are in a sensitive phase of life, where even the slightest feelings of loneliness and loss of freedom, mobility, energy or the like can make you feel really helpless. Arthritis and splitting headaches can become more prominent if you are being victimized to depression.
However, you need to be able to differentiate between a simple emotional state such as grief and ‘clinical depression’ as there is a very minimalistic difference between the two. Depressed people do not necessarily feel ‘sad’ in fact they may complain about other ailments and a constant state of feeling empty and hollow. Grief, on the other hand, involves mixed emotions of having good and bad days.
Hence, never walk down the road of assumption, making false suppositions that the incompetency of mental acuteness is the usual old age dawning upon you, in fact it could either be a sign of something even graver, that is depression or dementia which is often prevalent in older adults and the elderly. You are likely to find these two conditions sharing symptoms with each other like impaired memory, slurred speech and actions, low morale and cognitive impairments. Consult your doctor right away to preserve the quality of your life.