Beat Depression to Stay Healthier and Live Longer: A Guide for Older Adults and Their Families

Beat Depression to Stay Healthier and Live Longer: A Guide for Older Adults and their Families
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When kids have depression, it's hard for them to make an effort, even when doing things they used to enjoy.

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Depression can make kids feel worthless, rejected, or unlovable. It can make everyday problems seem more difficult than they actually are. When depression is severe, it can lead kids to think about self-harm or suicide.

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An irritable or angry mood might seem like a bad attitude or disrespect. Low energy and lack of interest might look like not trying. Parents and kids and teens themselves may not realize that these can be signs of depression.

Causes of Depression in Older Adults

Because depression can show up in different ways and might be hard to see, it helps to let a doctor know if feelings of sadness or bad moods seem to go on for a few weeks.. When diagnosing depression and similar mood disorders, doctors and mental health professionals use different categories. They all have depressed mood as a main symptom, but they develop in different ways. For example:. Depression and other mood disorders can get better with the right attention and care. But problems also can continue or get worse if they're not treated.

If you think your child might be depressed or has a problem with moods:. Talk with your child about depression and moods. Kids might ignore, hide, or deny how they feel. Or they might not realize that they're depressed. Older kids and teens might act like they don't want help, but talk with them anyway. Listen, offer your support, and show love. Schedule a visit to your child's pediatrician. The doctor will probably do a complete physical exam. A full exam lets the doctor check your child for other health conditions that could cause depression-like symptoms. If the doctor thinks your child has depression, or a similar mood disorder, he or she may refer you to a specialist for evaluation and treatment.

Contact a mental health specialist.

Depression can get better. But without help, it can last or get worse. Setting overly aggressive goals can actually lead to setbacks and discouragement. Be patient with yourself. Every small step forward counts. You may be tempted to withdraw from others and isolate yourself. But staying connected to others will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Nurture the important relationships in your life. Now, more than ever, staying connected is important. Spending time with family and friends will help you stay positive, healthy, and hopeful.

Living With: Depression in Older Adults

Sometimes, you may need a shoulder to cry on or someone to vent to. Joining a disability support group. One of the best ways to combat loneliness and isolation is to participate in a support group for people dealing with similar challenges. Just that realization goes a long way. Support groups are a great place to share struggles, solutions, and encouragement.

Smile, even if it feels hard

In fact, it can make you stronger, especially if your refusal to seek out needed assistance is delaying your progress or making you worse, either physically or emotionally. Let go of the fear that asking for support will inspire pity. Allow the people who care about you to pitch in. Not only will you benefit, it will also make them feel better! Consider talking to a mental health professional. While loved ones can provide great support in this way, you may also want to consider talking to a therapist.

A disability can take away many aspects of your identity, leaving you questioning who you are, what your value is, and where you fit in society. There are numerous opportunities out there—many of which can even be done from home. Develop new hobbies and activities that make you happy. A disability can make the activities you used to enjoy more difficult, or even impossible.

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But staying engaged will make a big difference in your mental health. Look for creative ways to participate differently in old favorites, or take this opportunity to develop new interests. Find ways to give back to those who help you. This is not a bad thing! But it will make you feel good if you find ways to reciprocate. Even things as small as a thank-you card or a genuine compliment count. Take care of an animal.

Caring for a pet is a great way to get outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed. And while animals are no substitution for human connection, they can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Regular exercise helps reduce anxiety and depression, relieve tension and stress, and improve sleep. Start small and build from there. Instead, find ways to increase the amount of physical activity in your day in small, incremental steps.

Find creative ways to exercise. Even if your mobility is limited, with a little creativity, you can find ways to exercise in most cases.

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Listen to your body. Exercise should never hurt or make you feel lousy. Stop exercising immediately and call your doctor if you feel dizzy, short of breath, develop chest pain or pressure, break out in a cold sweat, or experience pain. Avoid the trap of comparing your exercise efforts to those of others—even others with similar disabilities. The only healthy way to judge your progress is by comparing where you are today to where you were yesterday. Eating well will boost your energy and promote vitality so you can partake in the activities you want to and reach your goals.

Focus on how you feel after eating.

Care. Easier.

It may help you take your mind off an illness, feel less lonely, or get to sleep. When diagnosing depression and similar mood disorders, doctors and mental health professionals use different categories. This isn't the case. Eating well will boost your energy and promote vitality so you can partake in the activities you want to and reach your goals. You may have to deal with:.

This awareness will help foster healthy new habits and tastes. Get plenty of high-quality protein. Protein is essential to healing and immune system functioning. Focus on quality sources such as organic, grass-fed meat and dairy, fish, beans, nuts and seeds, tofu, and soy products. Minimize sugar and refined carbs. Aim to cut out as much of these foods as possible. Drink plenty of water. Water also helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins.