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Depression is a mental health disorder where you persistently experience a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities. This condition affects every area of your life including health, work, relationships, appetite and general interest in things. Around 25% of elderly population in India is depressed, which means one in every four elderly Indian is dealing with depression.

Depression can be debilitating to deal with but the silver lining is that it can be dealt with. It’s possible to manage depression and lead a life of quality.

Below are a few points to help you through this condition:

1. Engage in a physical activity: Rigorous exercise in old age may not be possible, nevertheless it’s one of the most important ways to beat depression. Working out releases endorphins, also known as happy hormones. They create a feeling of euphoria in the body. Go for daily walks and include yoga in your lifestyle to help you stay mentally fit. It will also help you feel healthy physically which will in turn contribute to mental health.

2. Find a hobby: Depression may have left you feeling demotivated and things you enjoyed once may not feel appealing anymore. But it’s important to push yourself and pick up at least one activity that you enjoy doing. It can be painting, cooking or reading. Choose an activity that brings you joy.

3. Stay busy: Stay as busy as physically and mentally possible. Staying occupied keeps your thoughts in check and helps you deal with depression and anxiety. Choose one chore to complete every day. For example, you can decide to re-arrange your cupboard one day, and clean the kitchen the next day. Break big chores into small tasks and stay busy.

4. Stay connected: It’s important to have real life connections with people. If going out feels overwhelming, invite people over to your house. Ensure you are meeting friends and family on a regular basis. Face-to-face connections give you a feeling of reassurance and help you deal with loneliness.

5. Learn a new skill: Select a skill you wanted to learn but did not get the time to, till now. It can be cooking, or learning singing or a new language. This will keep you occupied, provide you with a new skill set and help you increase your interaction with people.

6. Seek help: If you feel your depression is severe and requires intervention, please seek help from an expert. Counselling for elderly is as effective as for adults. It’s important to share your thoughts and issues with an expert who can guide you through therapy sessions.

Depression is not taboo but a mental illness that can affect anyone. With the right steps and consistent efforts, it’s possible to manage and eventually beat this condition.

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