How To Prevent Depression in the Elderly

Sad senior citizen

Do you find yourself feeling sad much of the time? If so, you may be suffering from depression, which is a medical condition that affects many older Americans. While senior citizens seem to particularly be at high risk for depression, it is not a normal part of growing old and should always be treated seriously or better yet, prevented. Here are some things you can do to prevent depression and enjoy life to your fullest potential:

  1. Engage in activities that spark your interest and make you feel alive and happy. Rather than sitting in your room alone at night, get out and do something you enjoy!
  2. If you experience a loss, seek support from family and friends and also participate in groups that focus on helping people grieve and cope.
  3. Reach out to others. By asking a friend to eat dinner with you or go to a movie, you will be able to focus on something positive and distract yourself from other things that might be worrying you.
  4. Volunteer your time. You can help others and feel good about yourself at the same time.
  5. Take part in social activities as often as possible. By getting out and meeting people, you will keep your mind sharp and also give yourself something to look forward to regularly.
  6. Begin a new hobby or activity, such as cooking, painting or singing. By starting something new, you will challenge yourself and focus on mastering a new, creative skill.
  7. Eat well. When you eat right, you feel your best. This can help you have a healthy mindset.
  8. Participate in exercise. Taking a senior exercise class, or joining a walking group, will add more spark in your step and will help boost your mood. An added benefit is that your clothes might even fit better!
  9. Prepare for changes in your life as much as you can. If you are retiring, moving to a new home or entering into a retirement community or nursing home, you can ease into your new lifestyle by keeping other things constant, such as continuing to watch your favorite television shows in the evening, bringing a few of your favorite possessions with you to a new home, or maintaining daily phone calls with your family.
  10. Use all prescribed medications correctly to minimize the side effects, which could include signs of depression.

 

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