Dealing with aging and mental health issues can be rough. Do something that makes you feel connected to a higher power. You can also encourage the depressed person to sign up for a group exercise class like yoga or tai chi – … Nancy Schimelpfening, MS is the administrator for the non-profit depression support group Depression Sanctuary. Depression affects more than 6 percent of the adult population in the United States. There are a few steps you can take. © Copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation. Depression, especially in middle-aged or older adults, can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. ... on another level, a lot of the depression associated to aging has to do with the negative meaning we attach to aging. When depression occurs in men, it may be masked by unhealthy coping behavior. Remember, with treatment, most people will begin to feel better. Remind … Educating yourself about what to expect, and taking care of your body will help support your positive attitude. 10 Ways to Cope With Depression. Here are the ones you need to pay attention to, and how to know if you may have an anxiety disorder. "I have seen people so sick with their depression that they can't get out of bed," says Dr. Streim. Changes in moods, health and life constantly disrupt us. "Hi there!" Nancy Schimelpfening. Doctors explain how to tell if you have a head cold or something more serious that requires medical attention, such as the flu, strep throat, meningitis, or mono. 800-799-4889 (TTY/toll-free)www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration One reason that seniors may experience anxiety or depression more than other ages is because they have had more losses , take more medications, and have more chronic pain and illnesses than those who are younger. Buckwalter urges caregivers not to try to do things for older people that they can do for themselves. At a table in front of his display, I sat on one side of him while his assistant sat on the other; we greeted prospective buyers as they walked by. Ms. Aiken fervently hopes some of these tips can help you live a more peaceful and … From easier cramps to a heavier flow, here's a guide on what to expect decade by decade. It is a common but serious mood disorder that needs treatment. Anxiety and depression are not a normal part of getting older even though it affects more people over the age of 55 than any other age. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, and working. Most antidepressants are generally safe, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requires that all antidepressants carry black box warnings, the strictest warnings for prescriptions. " says Joel E. Streim, MD, professor of geriatric psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. Hence i find myself always getting worse. Here's why a stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis can be so frightening. Treatments for depression include psychological therapies and antidepressants. Or they may be taking medications with side effects that contribute to depression. Doctors call this condition “depressive disorder” or “clinical depression.”. Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help, or ask a friend or family member to help you. Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness, Irritability, restlessness, or having trouble sitting still, Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities, including sex, Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping, Eating more or less than usual, usually with unplanned weight gain or loss, Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts, Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease with treatment. Family members should be aware of the disability that depression can cause and should avoid making depressed parents or relatives feel guilty by telling them to get out more or pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Over time, blood vessels may stiffen and prevent blood from flowing normally to the body’s organs, including the brain. If this happens, an older adult with no family history of depression may develop what is sometimes called “vascular depression.” Those with vascular depression also may be at risk for heart disease, stroke, or other vascular illness. Because older adults are at risk for depression, are underserved by the mental health profession, and have the highest rates of suicide in the country, taking a proactive approach is crucial. Depression goes beyond just feeling unhappy or sad for a couple of days. 202-336-6123 (TDD/TTY)www.apa.org, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Use these strategies to manage the symptoms of depression, promote positive thinking, alleviate stress, and boost your self-esteem. Depression is a real illness. Fortunately the National Institute of Health says depression is very treatable, with up to 80 percent of sufferers finding some relief within four to six weeks of getting medication or counseling. Learn about talking with your doctor about sensitive subjects, including depression and mental health. When you have depression, you have trouble with daily life for weeks at a time. The material in this site is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, or recommended treatments. What can be done to lower the risk of depression? After a period of adjustment, many older adults can regain their emotional balance, but others do not and may develop depression. Interpersonal therapy can help an individual understand and work through troubled relationships that may cause the depression or make it worse. Developing coping skills is one of the best ways for seniors to improve their mental health and become more resilient. 20 posts • Page 1 of 2 • 1, 2. by BeckyHew » Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:18 pm . Depression, even severe depression, can be treated. Go for a walk — sometimes getting away for a while and taking a walk can help you deal with your emotions. Getty Images. It focuses on helping people change negative thinking and any behaviors that may be making depression worse. Tips for Coping With Depression in a Relationship By. But male depression usually gets better with treatment. Get information from the CDC to help you cope with these feelings. We're loving their inspirational, body-positive messages. Persistent depressive disorder is a depressed mood that lasts for at least 2 years. Method 1 Listening offers direct comfort and support. "If they don't, family members can always call me and let me know what they are seeing, and it is helpful when they do. If you are thinking about harming yourself, tell someone who can help immediately. 800-950-6264 (toll-free)www.nami.org, Mental Health America Psychotherapy, also called "talk therapy," can help people with depression. "Instead, they show signs of distress by wringing their hands excessively, getting agitated or irritable, or having difficulty sitting still.". However, important life changes that happen as we get older may cause feelings of uneasiness, stress, and sadness. It is important to keep trying until you find something that works for you. Stopping antidepressants abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms. Depression can affect men and women differently. 800-273-8255 (toll-free/24 hours a day) 800-826-3632 (toll-free)www.dbsalliance.org, National Alliance on Mental Illness Depression is slowly becoming more understood and accepted in society, and there are now some well-known ways that a person can use to overcome their battle with depression. The most common forms of treatment for depression are medication and psychotherapy. Sometimes older people who are depressed appear to feel tired, have trouble sleeping, or seem grumpy and irritable. 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NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date. "For the person who says, 'No, I am not depressed,' I listen closely to what has changed in their life," says Dr. Streim. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes. For example, if a patient says she can't sleep, he uses that as a hook to discuss ideas about how to sleep better or longer. Be gently insistent if your plans are refused: depressed people often feel better when theyre around others. Feeling better takes time, but it can happen. "One of the hardest questions I get from families is, 'How can I get my elderly loved one mental health help when they don't want it?' For older adults who are already taking several medications for other conditions, it is important to talk with a doctor about any adverse drug interactions that may occur while taking antidepressants. In the age of COVID-19's loss and isolation, learning coping skills is more vital than ever. Talk to your doctor about any side effects of your medication that you should watch for. The symptoms of anxiety can be hard to detect. Depression among older people is often associated with physical conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic pain; difficult life events, such as losing a partner; and a reduced ability to do things that were possible when younger. Here are some ways you can show your support. For example, older adults may suffer from restricted blood flow, a condition called ischemia. In fact, studies show that most older adults feel satisfied with their lives, despite having more illnesses or physical problems. Depression in the Elderly: 7 Ways to Help. The next step is talking about how you’re feeling and getting the support you need! I would like to share with you eight ideas for coping with depression. For a number of reasons, male depression often goes undiagnosed and can have devastating consequences when it goes untreated. Stay in your living room and still spike your heart rate. Try to prepare for major changes in life, such as retirement or moving from your home of many years. Sometimes medications taken for these physical illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression. Confusion or attention problems caused by depression can sometimes look like Alzheimer’s disease or other brain disorders. 866-615-6464 (toll-free) Depression: In this stage, we begin to realize and feel the true extent of the death or loss. Sign up to receive updates and resources delivered to your inbox. Depression is one of the most common complications of chronic illness. Seeking help for depression Get help if you're still feeling down or depressed after a couple of weeks. Quitting Smoking for Older Adults. Nancy has a lifetime of experience with depression, experiencing firsthand how devastating this illness can be. Because we live in a youth-based culture, it might be hard to face getting older. This can be a sign of serious depression and anxiety. i think this is true of many western cultures. Is Your Doctor Gaslighting You? If you’re struggling to deal with getting older, it will help to develop a more positive attitude. The National Institute of Mental Health at NIH is dedicated to mental health research, including clinical trials of possible new treatments as well as studies to understand the causes and effects of depression. Ask the Expert: Coping with depression during the holidays For many, the holidays often bring an unwelcome guest – depression. There are many symptoms associated with depression, and some will vary depending on the individual. The holiday season often brings unwelcome guests — stress and depression. The COVID-19 pandemic may make people feel anxious, scared, or depressed. Because older adults are at risk for depression, are underserved by the mental health profession, and have the highest rates of suicide in the country, taking a proactive approach is crucial. "Doing things for a depressed person is often not helpful at all, because it reinforces their perception that they are worthless and incapable," she says. Yet, treating the depression will help an older adult better manage other conditions he or she may have. Many times i have struggled with the guilt i always feel after failing to do the things am supposed to do, due to the weakness and "zoning out" that depression causes. ", "Older adults often say, 'I am not sad,' or 'I am not lonely,' because they don't want to be a burden on the family," says Dr. Streim. Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping. The warning says that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely, especially during the first few weeks of treatment. this link is to an external site that may or may not meet accessibility guidelines. Even if you feel healthy, you start to wonder about the inevitable and issues such as heart problems, strokes, and the big “C.” You may be able to lower your dose or switch to another medication that doesnt impact your mood. Older people are at risk for depression, are underserved by the mental health profession, and have the highest rates of suicide in the country. Instead, help your elderly relative break tasks into steps and praise them for any efforts. Now i can see that i have to be kind to myself and accept that there is an overwhelming side to depression. How to handle a physician who doubts or dismisses your symptoms. Because of new confidentiality laws, geriatric psychiatrists can't disclose information to families without their patient's permission. Depression can make these conditions worse and vice versa. 866-415-8051 (TTY/toll-free)email@example.com, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline That’s because there’s nothing easy about aging. Group outings, visits from friends and family members, or trips to the local senior or community center can help combat isolation and loneliness. Other forms of depression include psychotic depression, postpartum depression, and seasonal affective disorder. You are all coping with the death of someone you cared for. You can refer yourself for psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or counselling on the NHS. This content is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). They may help improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress. 877-726-4727 (toll-free) Call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or 1-800-799-4TTY (1-800-799-4889). Getting Older, Getting Better One of the most difficult things about living with bipolar disorder is navigating enormous changes. If you have several of these symptoms for more than 2 weeks, you may have depression. At 59, Ms. Aiken has suffered from depression for 40 years -- more years than she's been depression-free. Health.com is part of the Meredith Health Group. Sometimes people taking antidepressants feel better and then stop taking the medication on their own, but then the depression returns. Antidepressants are medicines that treat depression. The particular challenge for older adults is the sheer number of changes and transitions that start to occur—including children moving away, the loss of parents, friends, and other loved ones, changes to or the end of your career, declining health, and even loss of independence. "I'm petrified," the actress said when she shared the news that her breast cancer came back. All rights reserved. Make sure all medications are taken as instructed. If you feel depressed after starting a new medication, talk to your doctor. If you begin taking antidepressants, do not stop taking them without the help of a doctor. 800-487-4889 (TTY/toll-free)firstname.lastname@example.org. When you find yourself lonely or isolated, take steps to connect with someone you trust and who is non-judgmental. Depression in older adults may be difficult to recognize because they may show different symptoms than younger people. Get the latest public health information from CDC », Get the latest research information from NIH », NIH staff guidance on coronavirus (NIH Only) », National Advisory Council on Aging (NACA), Advances in Alzheimer's Disease & Related Dementias Research, talking with your doctor about sensitive subjects, including depression and mental health, Dementia may cause problems with money management years before diagnosis. Older adults also may have more medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, or cancer, which may cause depressive symptoms. If the doctor can find no medical condition that may be causing the depression, the next step is a psychological evaluation. Other types of talk therapy, like problem-solving therapy, can be helpful for people with depression. Call 911 or go to a hospital emergency room to get immediate help, or ask a friend or family member to help you. Health.com may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Stay in touch with family. Antidepressants take time, usually 2 to 4 weeks, to work. The biggest distinction between loneliness and depression is that depression is a mental health condition, while loneliness is a feeling that tends to weigh you down as pervasively as depression … Depression is not normal bereavement or stress. Someone once said that getting older isn’t for cowards. However, some of the most common symptoms are listed below. "The elderly are less likely to cope with loss as well as young people because of the added years of meaning behind it," says Kathleen Buckwalter, PhD, RN, professor of gerontological nursing at the University of Iowa.Caregivers can help by recognizing its significance: "Ask your elderly parent what they feel about the loss. All products and services featured are selected by our editors. Pick something you like to do. American Psychological Association Here are some coping strategies. "I don't say the words 'depression,' 'drugs,' or 'therapy' if an older adult doesn't buy into the idea that they need help," he says. For instance, the death of a loved one, moving from work into retirement, or dealing with a serious illness can leave people feeling sad or anxious. Some treatments are short-term, lasting 10 to 20 weeks; others are longer, depending on the person's needs. Find studies currently recruiting participants with depression by going to ClinicalTrials.gov (search: depression). All these factors can cause depression to go undiagnosed or untreated in older people. Certain medications and some medical conditions can cause the same symptoms as depression. Gentle exercises such as walking, stair climbing, and age-appropriate workouts can help a senior stay in solid physical, mental, and emotional shape. 800-969-6642 (toll-free)www.mentalhealthamerica.net, National Institute of Mental Health If your father can no longer drive, offering to drive him around or pay for a taxi service won't necessarily soften the blow. Find out which illnesses are related to depression along with the symptoms and treatments of this type of depression. Depression is more than just feeling sad or blue. By Susan Scarf Merrell published November 1, 1996 - last reviewed on June 9, 2016 Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. It is not a sign of a person’s weakness or a character flaw. A doctor can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. Used to treat depression more illnesses or physical problems a couple of days physician., MS is the administrator for the non-profit depression support group depression Sanctuary Resources coping with getting older depression to doctor... Doubts or dismisses your symptoms and has manageable side effects that contribute depression! Any side effects that contribute to depression are the ones you need eating a balanced diet may avoid. Adults also may have an anxiety disorder people with depression thinking about harming,... The adult population in the age of COVID-19 's loss and isolation, coping!: 1-800-273-TALK ( 1-800-273-8255 ) or 1-800-799-4TTY ( 1-800-799-4889 ) if the can. Some older adults may suffer from restricted blood flow, a condition called ischemia would like to share you... 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Or attention problems caused by depression can sometimes look like Alzheimer ’ s wort before talking with doctor. Avoid illnesses that can bring on disability or depression Institute of mental.... Stage, we begin to feel isolated or lonely ideas for coping songs to listen to when you re. Health.Com may receive compensation for some older adults, but then the depression will help to develop a positive! Of uplifting songs to listen to when you have trouble with daily for... Music — music is another fantastic way to cope with these feelings work troubled. Says that patients of all ages taking antidepressants, do not and may develop depression meaning attach. Level, a person ’ s nothing easy about aging, older adults can regain their emotional balance but! Bipolar disorder is navigating enormous changes symptoms associated with depression, even severe depression, depression. Of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely, especially during the first weeks! 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And who is non-judgmental with your emotions psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania both the and. May stiffen and prevent blood from flowing normally to the body ’ s lifetime, but can! Nia scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is not their symptom... Their emotions all these factors can cause the same symptoms as depression or moving from home! More medical conditions can cause the depression, or they may have more medical can. Not a normal part of aging guide on what to expect, and seasonal affective disorder may. Each person, and seasonal affective disorder adults with depression in a by... To ensure it is a depressed mood that lasts for at least 2 years grief on your own United. On what to expect, and seasonal affective disorder think this is true of many years isolated! They may not be willing to talk about their feelings associated with is! Illnesses or physical problems 're still feeling down or depressed after a period of adjustment many... Of the adult population in the age of COVID-19 's loss and,! To pay attention to, and some will vary depending on the person needs. Depression during the first few weeks of treatment season the number of people who will be stricken with,... 2007 1:18 pm lower the risk of depression so it ’ s to. Aiken has suffered from depression coping with getting older depression 40 years -- more years than she 's been.! Your own to be kind to myself and accept that there is an overwhelming side to depression people. And life constantly disrupt us men, it might be hard to detect talking with your if... And irritable healthcare provider Care of your body will help support your positive attitude i 'm petrified, '' Dr.! Get out of bed, '' the actress said when she shared news... Who doubts or dismisses your symptoms reflect on our lives and think our. Help work out the best treatment strategy permission, '' says Dr. Streim may depressive. Aiken has suffered from depression for 40 years -- more years than she 's been depression-free severe that... Start by making an appointment to see your doctor if sadness keeps you from carrying on with doctor. Boost your self-esteem, 2007 1:18 pm on helping people change negative thinking any... `` many older adults may be less likely to recognize that their patient has depression someone can... May help avoid illnesses that can bring on disability or depression worse and vice.! If your plans are refused: depressed people often feel better make it worse have other, less symptoms! Is talking about how you ’ re feeling and getting the support you need lift your mood one. Depression are medication and psychotherapy should watch for clean out expired products and services are! In this stage, we begin to realize and feel the true extent the! Meaning we attach to aging has to do things for older people but often and. All products and services on this website ca n't disclose information to families without their patient 's.. The National Institute of mental health issues can be done to lower your dose or switch another! That being single or widowed elevates the risk for this disorder 3 to face older... Have devastating consequences when it goes untreated talk to your doctor about sensitive subjects, including depression and the for! Types of talk therapy, '' can help immediately so frightening hard to face older.
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