Many seniors go through difficult physical, mental, and emotional changes that can result in depression. According to the World Health Organization, depression affects about 350 million people of all ages—many seniors—throughout the world. While it’s difficult to cope with depression, it can sometimes be even more difficult to watch an aging family member deal with it. Because of this, we’ve compiled a list of tips that we hope you can use to help your aging loved one combat the symptoms of depression and increase the quality of their life.
- Help them find a sense of purpose.
The battle with depression can be even more difficult when the person dealing with it has lost their sense of purpose. Whether you help your loved one pick up a new hobby, volunteer, or help them find a meaningful project to work on, having a purpose that gets them out of bed in the morning is a sure way to combat some of the negative effects of depression.
- Address sleep problems.
Unless they are a result of bad habits, sleep problems are often an indicator that there are hormonal imbalances in the body. Check out our last blog, Sleep Tips For Older Adults, for more understanding about how to address sleep problems. If you’re able to help your loved one get back on a healthy sleep cycle, the severity of their depression will likely decrease.
- Encourage Social Interaction.
One of the best things you can do for your loved ones is to show them they’re loved. Loneliness is one of the worst things for someone who is already depressed. Whether it is through visiting your senior loved one or encouraging them to visit other friends and extended family, it’s important that they have social interaction. Having an active social life improves physical, mental, and emotional health.
- Encourage Physical Activity.
Physical exercise has been proven to help seniors stay in physical, mental, and emotional shape. There are many age appropriate activities such as walking or yoga that are enjoyable for many seniors. Check out our previous blog, Best Exercises For Seniors, for some great senior exercise ideas.
- Ensure That They Are Eating Healthy.
We don’t need to say a lot about this. We all know the incredible overall health benefits of eating healthy—and this includes mental health. Maintaining a proper diet will help your senior loved one feel better emotionally and physically.
- Seek Professional Help When Necessary.
Many seniors avoid seeking professional help. As their family member or friend, you can help them in a valuable way if you will gently encourage them to seek professional help—whether it comes from their primary physician with regards to medication changes, or whether they start a form of therapy, branching out to those who have experience with treating clinical depression is a valuable and critical component to healing.
Here at Aspire, your overall health is important to us. We hope that by applying some of the above tips, you’ll be able to help your senior loved ones maintain healthy emotional health through their changing life circumstances.