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  • Why Aging and Depression Often Go Hand-in-Hand

    They
    say that with age comes wisdom, and for some, that may be true. But with age also
    comes some very big challenges. In addition to dealing with the onset of
    disease and physical disabilities, older people must face loss: the loss of a spouse,
    loss of friends, loss of siblings, and even the loss of memories.

    “Getting old is not for sissies.” – Bette
    Davis

    When
    you consider all of this loss, it’s not surprising that aging and depression
    often go hand-in-hand. While feeling sadness over these losses is a normal part
    of life, some people experience profound depression.

    But,
    if earlier in your life you never really experienced depression, how do you
    know the difference between it and sadness? Here are some signs of depression:

    ·      
    Trouble
    sleeping (either falling asleep, staying asleep or both)

    ·      
    A
    change in appetite

    ·      
    Sudden
    mood swings (such as irritability and anger)

    ·      
    Feelings
    of hopelessness

    ·      
    Social
    isolation

    ·      
    Suicidal
    thoughts

    At
    some time in our lives, most of us have experienced one or two of these
    symptoms. But when you experience more than one or two at a time, and these
    feelings linger and deepen, that is a clear indicator of depression.

    Beating Depression Will
    Require Trust

    When
    someone who has faced so much loss becomes depressed, what can they do to feel
    better? The answer to that question is to seek the help of a therapist who can
    help you navigate your emotions, offer tools for mood management and even
    prescribe medications if they feel it will help.

    But
    there lies the conundrum.

    Those
    suffering from depression often feel helpless, that is to say, they feel they
    are beyond being helped. When a
    person feels that no one and nothing can help them, they will not seek help and
    refuse it when it is offered. In fact, some depressed people even become
    angered when loved ones try to help.

    This
    is when trust becomes a vital component to getting well. Older people have
    spent a lifetime forming relationships with family and friends. They know the
    connection and love is genuine. Therefor they must trust that when a loved one comes to them and says, “I love you and
    I’m concerned. I think you’re depressed and you need some help…” they recognize
    they are coming from a loving place and trust they want what’s best for them.

    If
    you yourself have tried to help an older loved one but they refuse to listen,
    consider having someone else they might trust even more speak with them. This
    could be an old colleague, their doctor, or your local pastor. And sometimes
    you may just have to get a group together and have an intervention.

    If
    you or a loved one is suffering from depression, you can feel better. You can
    remember that life is worth living, even while feeling so much pain and sorrow.
    If you would like to explore treatment options, please contact me. I would be
    happy to speak with you about how I may help.

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