Clinical depression is very common in elderly people. While the cause of depression is different depending on the individual, one of the main reasons behind geriatric depression is loneliness. Family members usually focus on the physical health of their elders and deliberately ignore another important aspect of life, like their emotional well-being. As a result, people who are aging gradually start losing their optimistic attitude and charm towards life with the passage of time. As an older person, they face unique challenges and struggles. Life becomes so unexpected for them because, with their declining health, they fail to complete the planned tasks on time. They start becoming dependent on others, even for the smaller things and this feeling bring on sadness for them. When this sadness continues to worsen, it becomes depression.
How To Combat Geriatric Depression Arising From Loneliness
The following are some of the ways by which one can combat depression arising from loneliness.
- Weekly Trips: Depression is less likely when people remain engaged. When their bodies and minds remain active, they focus less on sad events of life, reducing risks of depression. Engaging them in activities that they used to enjoy such as walking, watching field concerts, jungle safari, or bird watching gives them relief from all sorts of worries.
- Healthy meals: Planning healthy and nutrition rich diet for elderly people helps in combating depression. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, green vegetables, whole grains, and some protein in every meal to prevent undernutrition among elderly.
- Social activities: Visits to the local community center help the elderly combat isolation and loneliness. Social gatherings and group discussions on common issues help depressed people feel better.
- Complete medication: Depression usually recurs when medication is stopped in between without taking advice from the physician. Therefore, make sure that your elders are following the instructions given by the doctor and continue the treatment until told to stop.
- Watch for suicide attempts: If it seems that the elder is thinking of suicide, take immediate measures to avoid any such act. Keep your elder under close supervision and never leave them alone. Try to keep them as happy as possible.
- Recreational activities: The activities such as dancing, watching movies, art & craft, exercising, and yoga keep the elderly people entertained. It’s a very old pronoun that ‘Idle mind is a devil’s home’; the activities keep the persons’ mind and body busy and hence they don’t think about bad things such as suicide attempts.