Self-help for Elderly Depression
Self-help for Elderly Depression is more important and simplest way for the elders to overcome their depression without any side-effect of medication.
It’s a myth to think that after age older adults can’t learn new skills, try new activities, or make fresh lifestyle changes. The truth is that the human brain never stops changing, so as an older adult, you’re just as capable as a young person of learning new things and adapting to new ideas that can help you recover from depression.
Overcoming depression involves finding new things you enjoy, learning to adapt to change, staying physically and socially active, and feeling connected to your community and loved ones.
Of course, when you’re depressed, taking action and putting self-help steps into action can be hard. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better can seem overwhelming. But small steps can make a big difference to how you feel. Taking a short walk, for example, is something you can do right now—and it can boost your mood for the next two hours. By taking small steps day by day, your depression symptoms will ease and you’ll find yourself feeling more energetic and hopeful again.
Self-help tip 1: Reach out and stay connected
If you’re depressed, you may not want to do anything or see anybody. But isolation only makes depression worse. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. That’s why support matters—so make an effort to connect to others and limit the time you’re alone. If you can’t get out to socialize, invite loved ones to visit you, or keep in touch over the phone or email.
But remember: digital communication isn’t a replacement for face-to-face contact. Do your best to see people in person on a daily basis. Your mood will thank you! And remember, it’s never too late to build new friendships.
• Get out in to the world.
Try not to stay cooped up at home all day. Go to the park, take a trip to the hairdresser, have lunch with a friend, visit a museum, or go to a concert or a play.
• Volunteer your time.
Helping others is one of the best ways to feel better about yourself and expand your social network.
• Join a depression support group.
Being with others facing the same problems can help reduce your sense of isolation. It can also be inspiring to hear how others cope with depression.
• Take care of a pet.
A pet can keep you company, and walking a dog, for example, can be good exercise for you and a great way to meet people. Dog owners love to chat while their pets play together.
• Take a class or join a club
Try joining a senior center, a book club, or another group of people with similar interests.
• Create opportunities to laugh.
Laughter provides a mood boost, so swap humorous stories and jokes with your loved ones, watch a comedy, or read a funny book.
Tip 2: Find meaning and purpose in life
To overcome depression—and stop it coming back—it’s important to continue to feel engaged and enjoy a strong purpose in life. As we age, life changes and you can lose things that previously occupied your time and gave life its meaning. Retirement, the loss of close friends or loved ones, relocating away from your social network, and changes in your physical health, finances, or status can impact your mood, confidence, and sense of self-worth. But there are still plenty of ways you can find new meaning in life and continue to feel engaged in the world. Sometimes it’s just a matter of reframing how you think of yourself or the aging process.
• Focus on what you can still do, not what you used to be able to do.
Maybe you feel frustrated that you’re not able to do everything you once could, or at least not to the same levels? Or perhaps negative ideas about growing older have dented your self-confidence? Instead of focusing on what you once did, try focusing on the things you can do. You’ll see just how much you still have to offer.
• Learn a new skill.
Pick something that you’ve always wanted to learn, or that sparks your imagination and creativity—a musical instrument, a foreign language, or a new game or sport, for example. Learning new activities not only adds meaning and joy to life, but can also help to maintain your brain health and prevent mental decline.
• Get involved in your community.
Try attending a local event, tutoring kids, or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you. Community work can be a great way of utilizing and passing on the skills you honed in your career—without the commitment or stress of regular employment.
• Take pride in your appearance.
When you retire, it’s easy to let yourself go a little now you don’t have to be at work every day. But putting effort into how you look each morning can give your self-confidence a welcome boost and improve how you feel.
Once you’re retired and your kids have left home, you likely have more time on your hands to visit the places you’ve always wanted to go. Book a vacation to somewhere new or take a weekend trip to a favorite place. Travel doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive to boost your mood. Enjoy time in nature by taking a scenic walk or hike, going fishing or camping, or spending a day at the beach.
• Write your memories, learn to paint, or take up a new craft.
Everyone has different idea about what brings meaning and purpose to life. The important thing is to find activities that are both meaningful and enjoyable for you. The more you nourish your spirit, the better you’ll feel.
Tip 3: Adopt healthy habits
When you’re depressed, it can be hard to find the motivation to do anything—let alone look after your health. But your health habits have an impact on depression symptoms. The better care you take of your body, the better you’ll feel.
▪︎ Move your body
Exercise is a powerful depression treatment. In fact, research suggests it can be just as effective as antidepressants. And you don’t have to suffer through a rigorous workout to reap the benefits. Take a short walk now and see how much better you feel. It is the best way to self-help for elderly depression. Anything that gets you up and moving helps. Look for small ways to add more movement to your day: park farther from the store, take the stairs, do light housework or gardening. It all adds up.
Even if you’re ill, frail, or disabled, there are many safe exercises you can do to build your strength and boost your mood—even from a chair or wheelchair. Just listen to your body and back off if you’re in pain.
▪︎ Eat to support your mood
Adjusting your dietary habits as an older adult can self-help for elderly depression.
• Start by minimizing sugar and refined carbs. Sugary and starchy comfort foods can give you a quick boost, but you pay for it later when your blood sugar crashes.
• Instead, focus on quality protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats, which will leave you satisfied and emotionally balanced.
• Going too long without eating can also worsen your mood, making you tired and irritable, so do your best to eat something at least every 3-4 hours.
▪︎ Support quality sleep
Many older adults struggle with sleep problems, particularly insomnia. But lack of sleep makes depression worse. To self-help for elderly depression aim for somewhere between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night is mandatory. You can help yourself get better quality sleep by avoiding alcohol and caffeine, keeping a regular sleep-wake schedule, and making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool.
▪︎ Spend time in sunlight
To self-help for elderly depression sunlight can help boost serotonin levels, improve your mood, and cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day.
• Have your coffee outside or by a window, enjoy an al fresco meal, or spend time gardening.
• Exercise outside by hiking, walking in a local park, or playing golf with a friend.
• If you live somewhere with little winter sunshine, try using a light therapy box.
▪︎ Alcohol and depression in older adults
It can be tempting to use alcohol to deal with physical and emotional pain when self-help for elderly depression is in try. It may help you take your mind off an illness, feel less lonely, or get to sleep. But alcohol makes symptoms of depression and anxiety worse over the long run. It also impairs brain function and interacts in negative ways with numerous medications, including antidepressants. And while drinking may help you nod off, it also keeps you from getting the refreshing deep sleep you need.
Tip 4: Know when to seek professional help
Depression treatment is just as effective for older adults as it is for younger people. However, since depression in the elderly is often triggered or compounded by a difficult life situation or challenge, any treatment plan should address that issue, too. If loneliness is at the root of your depression, for example, medication alone is not going to cure the problem.
Antidepressant risk factors
Older adults are more sensitive to drug side effects and vulnerable to interactions with other medicines they’re taking. Studies have also found that SSRIs such as Prozac can cause rapid bone loss and a higher risk for fractures and falls. Because of these safety concerns, elderly adults on antidepressants should be carefully monitored.
In many cases, therapy and/or healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercise, can be as effective as antidepressants in relieving depression, without the dangerous side effects.
Counseling and therapy
Therapy works well on depression because it addresses the underlying causes of the depression, rather than just the symptoms.
• Supportive counseling includes religious and peer counseling. It can ease loneliness and the hopelessness of depression, and help you find new meaning and purpose.
• Therapy helps you work through stressful life changes, heal from losses, and process difficult emotions. It can also help you change negative thinking patterns and develop better coping skills.
• Support groups for depression, illness, or bereavement connect you with others who are going through the same challenges. They are a safe place to share experiences, advice, and encouragement.
For more informative articles on Psychological health and other health related issues, please visit our website www.santripty.com and also feel free to consult with our experienced team of doctors, get benefits and stay healthy.