Depression is a serious mental disorder that can substantially reduce a person’s quality of life. It affects people of all ages and can develop at any point in the life cycle. Even people who never dealt with depression during their younger years can develop symptoms with age. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help combat depression in yourself or a loved one.
What Is Depression?
While many people feel down from time to time, depression is a much more severe condition. It can last for months or even years and can severely impact a person’s ability to function in the real world. The symptoms of depression include:
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep disruptions, including insomnia or excessive sleeping
- General fatigue
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Trouble concentrating
- Irritability and frustration
- Suicidal thoughts
In order for someone to be diagnosed with depression, they must experience these symptoms most of the time for at least two weeks.
Depression in Older Adults
Older adults are at increased risk for depression. Several personal, physiological, and environmental factors that come with age can contribute to the development of depression, making this a very real concern for older adults.
Factors that can increase the risk of depression include:
- Physical illness
- Loneliness or social isolation
- Lack of physical activity
- Sleep problems
- Loss of friends, family, or loved ones
Fortunately, depression is highly treatable, even in people over the age of 65.
How to Combat Depression in Seniors
There are several different methods of combatting depression in older adults. The three primary tools that can help people overcome depression in their old age are psychiatric medications, counseling, and environmental changes.
Several different medications are available to help older adults combat depression. Medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have decades of scientific evidence supporting their ability to help people overcome the symptoms of depression and lead more fulfilling lives.
Meeting with a physician or psychiatrist to discuss medication options can be a pivotal moment for improving an older adult’s quality of life.
Counseling services, also known as psychotherapy, can help many older adults overcome the symptoms of depression and change their behaviors in a way that facilitates recovery.
A therapist or social worker can help identify the sources of a person’s depression and guide them toward healthy behaviors and coping strategies that help address the core challenges.
Additionally, sometimes simply having an attentive ear to talk to can do wonders for improving mental health.
Lastly, changing the environment is often an effective way of combatting depression. Many older adults who live alone feel the effects of social isolation and loneliness, and they may not be able to get out to see their friends, family, or loved ones as much as they’d like to.
Moving into independent living in Bradenton, Florida, is one option for helping seniors find new friends, connect with others, and live a more active and fulfilling lifestyle.
Independent Living in Bradenton, Florida
Choosing independent living in Bradenton, Florida, gives older adults a chance to become part of a thriving community during their golden years. The services that are included in independent living communities can help ensure that seniors get the full scope of treatment necessary for treating depression, medical illnesses, and any other concerns they have that interfere with their overall quality of life.
Unlike assisted living homes, independent living ensures that each resident retains control over their own life and gets to live how they choose while still reaping the benefits of being a member of a senior community.