Depression in older adults is a topic that is often ignored and swept under the carpet. No one is ready to acknowledge it. People treat depression as a normal part of aging, not knowing that it is actually a mental illness that affects older adults in a major way.
Many older adults feel isolated and neglected. This is one of the main reasons for depression in old age. Also, it is seen that the elderly find it difficult to talk to others about this issue because of the fear of being judged.
An older adult with depression may display certain symptoms that are red flags. These include isolation and avoiding socializing, changes in eating and sleeping habits or drastic changes in weight. They become negative about almost everything and often have suicidal thoughts. If one shows these symptoms, it is imperative to seek treatment.
Dimpy Bharadwaj, a counselor and therapist in Pune, says that older adults just need someone to talk about their daily lives. These things may seem very mundane to others but are very important to them. Many of the elderly live alone and crave companionship. Some of them also need help to go outside because they may feel anxious to go outdoors alone.
Many women in the menopausal period go through a lot of physical changes and emotional upheavals. But these changes are not limited to women alone. Many middle aged men also experience bodily changes. This time is usually very disturbing for them. There may be frequent fights in the family due to these changes.
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However, talking to others and sharing their problems can reduce some pain. In other words, a support group sort of structure, where your problems will be heard without judgment and possibly, help offered, is the best way for older adults to remain mentally healthy.
Therapy and counseling are very slowly gaining foothold in India. They are still regarded as a taboo, unlike in the western countries where they are very common. In India, people seeking out therapy are often ridiculed. So the people seeking therapy often want complete confidentiality.
There are different types of therapies like talk therapy, music, dance, and freedom of emotion therapy. An older adult going through a low phase can take up one therapy or a combination of all these therapies.
Certain lifestyle changes like exercising regularly and listening to happy music can also help keeping older adults happy.
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