What to Do When Depression Strikes in Seniors

Mental health conditions don’t discriminate, and they can affect any demographic. However, depression is common for older adults. Contributing factors for depression in seniors include a diminished sense of purpose, physical health issues, fear of death, loss of loved ones, and isolation. Because it’s a treatable condition, those who may be depressed should seek help before it leads to more serious issues.

The following information explains the symptoms of depression and offers ways of treating it. For therapy services that can address and treat the root cause of your depression, book an online appointment with Dr. Jose Sandoval.

 Recognizing Depression

Depression can manifest as physical symptoms, such as headaches and tiredness, and non-physical symptoms, such as loneliness and low energy. If you find yourself withdrawing from social interactions or losing interest in activities that you once loved, then you might be depressed. If you’re feeling hopeless and sad without any explanation, then it could be depression. If you suffer from low energy or lack of motivation, then depression is a possibility. For a more detailed description of depression symptoms, check out U.S. News’s helpful guide.

Mental Health Treatment

Seniors who recognize signs of depression in themselves should see a mental health professional for an evaluation. They will be able to diagnose you properly and get you the necessary help for your condition. A mental health provider’s licenses and credentials allow them to provide therapeutic services, and some are able to prescribe medications in the event that you need antidepressants in your treatment plan. A treatment program may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Not all medical insurance plans offer mental health coverage, but Medicare can provide those benefits. Make sure to read through your benefits to check for coverage on behavioral health and mental health services.

Receiving Care at a Senior Facility

Another important part of your mental health treatment plan involves reassessing your living situation. If you are suffering from isolation and/or are unable to perform everyday tasks that are critical to your health, such as personal hygiene and maintaining a proper diet, then it’s a good idea to think about your options for receiving specialized care. There are different types of senior living facilities, such as independent living, assisted living and nursing homes, that offer different levels of care. Staying in a senior living facility can benefit your mental and physical health, due to opportunities for socializing and receiving quality health care from skilled professionals. When searching for facilities in Miami, take a look at the services they offer and how much it costs to live there, to help you decide which facility is right for you.

Lifestyle Changes

Don’t isolate yourself. Make an effort to be social, and seek out companionship when you need it. There’s a good chance that there are other seniors who suffer from loneliness and could use your company as well. Join a senior group or a retirement community to meet like-minded individuals looking for friends.

Since healthy eating and exercise affect your brain chemistry, ensure that you prioritize your nutrition. Omega-3 fatty acids can benefit healthy brain function, so eat more fish or take fish oil supplements. Exercise every day by walking, doing yoga, or participating in other forms of low-impact fitness.

Also, get on a regular sleep schedule. If you’re suffering from depression, your sleep patterns could be disrupted. Getting adequate sleep and regulating your internal rhythm can help pull you out of depression.

Before beginning a treatment plan, it’s important to seek a professional diagnosis. What might seem like depression could be another mental health condition such as bipolar disorder. The outlook doesn’t have to be grim for those who suffer from depression, anxiety, or an emotional disorder. By recognizing the situation and getting help, you can conquer this disease and live a fulfilling life.

Guest blog written by Sheila Johnson

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