Depression in the elderly

Among several mental health problems that the elderly may face in their later life, depression seems to be the most popular. According to a recent survey, 10-25% of the UK elderly over the age of 65 experience depression. In other words, nearly a fifth of the old people in the UK have to suffer from this metal issue, which prevents from enjoying life after retirement.

Depression in the elderly

Symptoms of depression

  • Behavior symptoms

– Evading responsibilities and self-care

– Isolating from family members and friends

– Losing interest in hobbies or other pleasurable pastimes

  • Emotional symptoms

– Believing they have cancer or some other serious illness when they don’t

– Feeling sad, worried, anxious, hopeless, empty…

– Being easy to get angry or in a bad mood condition

  • Physical symptoms

– Changing sleeping habits

– Loosing or changing appetite

– Slowing body movement

– Having digestive upsets, nausea

– Feeling tired always

– Showing memory problems

Causes of depression

  • Genetic

Although it is undeniable that not all people who are suffering from depression have close biological relative who has struggled with depression, it has been largely recognized that this kind of mental health problem has a genetic component. If your mother or sister, for example, has been affected by later – life depression, you are likely to experience the same thing.

  • Environmental

Stressful events are among the most significant reasons for depression. In fact, after a breakdown, a death of family member or long-term isolation or loneliness…., the seniors tend to be negatively influenced and show some certain symptoms of depression.

  • Physical
Those who are suffering from an illness are more likely to get depressed
Those who are suffering from an illness are more likely to get depressed

Long time medical treatment of an illness may put the seniors at the risk of getting depressed. It seems that late-life depression can be caused by physical illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. This is not difficult to understand because physical pains and the unhappy experience at the hospitals can easily lead to uncomfortable feelings. If those continue to happen for long time, it is a high chance that not only the physical pain but also the mental problems become worse. Moreover, according to the doctors, many seniors who have depression are medically detected to have an imbalance of serotonin and dopamine in their brain.

How to prevent depression?

  • Get enough sleep

There is a close relationship between depressed illness and sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation:

“The relationship between sleep and depressive illness is complex–depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders.”

The correct amount of sleep a person requires differs depending on lifestyle and age. Only you know how much time you should spend on sleeping to function at your best.

  • Take exercises

Depression in the elderly 2

Exercises are not only necessary to maintain a proper physical health but also helps to boost mental health. Recently, a study on how the exercises can have great influence on the depression has been conducted by some researchers. The depressed patients were asked to pedal a stationary bike for 15 minutes and their subjective symptoms and cortisol (stress hormone) levels were measured before and afterwards. Interestingly, both the patients’ symptoms of depression and cortisol levels were significantly reduced. Consequently, the elderly are strongly recommended to take moderate exercises regularly. They can walk, run with their partners or attend a yoga class.

  • Eat a healthy diet

The seniors are suggested to eat a low-fat diet, rich in vitamins, nutrients, omega-3s (found in fish), and folic acid, which are useful in mood regulation and balance.

  • Find passion in life

Depression in the elderly 3

When we spend time doing what we are really keen on, our mood is boosted. By contrast, the elderly who have no hobby or purpose in their life may have a high chance of being depressed. Instead of staying at home, worrying about everything, the seniors should take part in social activities or pursue a hobby that they find it exciting.

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