Older people often deal with bouts of depression, be they caused by aches and pains, the illness or death of a friend or spouse, a hormonal imbalance, bad reaction to a medication or any other of a myriad of reasons.
Fortunately, with effort and creativity, depression can be beaten. Once suspected, depression should be discussed with the patient’s doctor and other caretakers. Following are some suggestions to help a loved one out of his or her funk:
• Be in touch. Call, visit… show you care.
• Get out, set up a schedule with an exercise buddy. The endorphins produced by the brain while exercising help keep depression at bay.
• Explore the options offered through alternative medical practitioners. These can include herbs, homeopathy, aromatherapy, acupuncture, massage, reflexology, guided imagery and so forth.
• Get cooking. Prepare a few new and exciting, healthy foods to try.
• Get involved in the community. Take part in a few classes offered through your local community center or college.
• Develop a hobby, be it one you’ve fiddled with for years or something entirely new.
• Volunteer in whatever interests you. Schools are often looking for classroom, lunchroom or homework helpers. Soup kitchens are often understaffed, and second-hand clothing outlets can often benefit from a senior’s experienced eye.
• For times when it may be difficult to get out, be set up to communicate with the outside world via computer through internet forums, webcam with the grandkids or recipe-sharing.
If you’re stumped for ideas, it may be best to contact a social worker through Family Services. It could well be that there are Golden Ager clubs in the neighborhood, Adopt-a-Grandparent, a book club or a drama group or even an over-sixty fishing team. You won’t know unless you ask!