Almost everyone experiences loneliness at some point in their lives. In most cases, the feeling is experienced during holidays, stressful situations, and when you feel isolated. Loneliness is not good and can sometimes lead to depression. Older people are more vulnerable to depression and loneliness since they go through several changes as they grow old. Friends move away and families disintegrate. Depression and loneliness can have adverse health effects on the life of seniors if not dealt with. Going through depression and loneliness? This article will show you the ways of overcoming loneliness and depression in old age.
What Causes Loneliness and Depression Among the Seniors
As the environment and relationships change, older adults start to experience increased feelings of loneliness. What triggers loneliness among the elderly?
- Staying Alone. Having no family or friends to live with can cause feelings of loneliness in seniors.
- Working from Home. As you grow old, it is important to be around people, like coworkers, if not family and friends. Being forced to work from home doesn’t allow you to interact with workmates and may cause loneliness.
- Ending a Relationship. Going through divorce or separation from your long-term spouse can bring loneliness to your life.
- Death of a Spouse. The death of a spouse you have been with for many years can be frustrating and cause feelings of loneliness, especially if you are left with no one to stand with you in the trying times of your life.
- Lack of Social Connections. Seniors should be able to maintain meaningful social connections as this is essential for their health. Being not able to access such connections can cause loneliness. It is important to find a group to join and share life experiences.
- Retirement. Once you retire, there are high chances of losing your previous work-related connections. When this happens, you may experience feelings of loneliness.
- Being Unbale to Participate in Recreational and Social Activities Because of Limited Funds. The available centers for seniors are paid for and one can end remaining lonely simply because they are unable to meet such costs.
Health Risks Associated with Depression and Loneliness
Loneliness, first of all, brings about depression if not dealt with properly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Depression, loneliness is more likely to cause heart disease, stroke, and may lead to seniors committing suicide, based on the level of depression one is going through. This increases mortality risks among the elderly because of poor health. Recent research studies have also found out that loneliness brings about high blood pressure, obesity, and it weakens the seniors’ immune systems. Seniors experiencing loneliness are also more likely to develop physical mobility impairments, denying them the ability to take care of themselves. Seniors also stand a high chance of developing a disability due to poor health and reduced access to community services that happen as a result of loneliness and depression.
What are the Symptoms of Depression in the Seniors?
- Having problems with memory.
- Feelings of hopelessness.
- Having thoughts of death or committing suicide.
- Experiencing difficulty in making decisions concerning your life.
- Reduced concentration.
- Losing interest in activities you used to have fun doing.
- Changes in appetite.
- Feeling fatigued.
Some of these symptoms can be serious. For instance, having thoughts of committing suicide may need medical attention. Please talk to someone or contact a health care provider immediately after you start having such thoughts. Tell your loved ones how you are feeling and get access to the support you need. They can keep you safe and far away from your wild thoughts.
How To Find Depression Treatment
Because depression can have harmful effects on your ability to perform daily life functions, it is important to seek treatment. Depression can make it difficult to sleep, take away your enjoyment, and eventually make it hard to take care of yourself. A combination of antidepressant medication and psychotherapy help in successful depression treatment. How do you find depression treatment when you need it?
- Look for a health care provider, a psychologist, or a therapist. There are many health care professionals specifically trained to deal with cases of depression. You can visit http://locator.apa.org/ to find psychologists to help you in your location.
- You can visit the local offices of the National Alliance of Mental Illness or reach out by calling 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). You can also reach out by sending an email through firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://www.nami.org/.
- Visit the Psychology Today Directory to get access to therapists, psychiatrists, counselors, and psychologists. Visit http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/.
- Visit any of the offices of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to get access to the local resources at low or no costs.
- Reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to get 24-hour assistance if you are going through emotional distress. Call 1-800-274-TALK (8255) to explain your situation before it is too late. Visit http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
How to Fight Loneliness and Depression for Seniors
You don’t have to have constant feelings of loneliness and depression to act. You can always try as much as you can to push forward to reengage with people around you. This will help you feel better. Make use of the following strategies to fight loneliness and depression:
- Draft a Plan of Action. Whether it an acute type of loneliness or the chronic one, devising a plan of action can be one of the best strategies to fight the feeling and obtain happiness again. Have you tried meeting and having a chat with fellow seniors going through the same situation? Have you at least volunteered and shared your skills and talents in your community? Start making use of this strategy and experience the best results.
- Make a Step to Get Out of Your Situation. Do anything that may help. A step forward can help a lot, even if it just having a friendly conversation.
- Explore Your Faith. This is one of the most trusted strategies. You know why? Because it provides you with opportunities to have positive social encounters and this can help you out of your situation.
- Move Around with Your Pet. Did you know that pets like a dog can help you fight depression and loneliness? Since they are naturally social creatures, they will help you move out and get over your worries.