By: Barbara Baird and Jessica Slavik, The Nord Center
Whether it’s gardening or spending time with your grandchildren, your retirement years can be your chance to do the things you truly love. But what if you find that you are losing interest in the things that you once enjoyed? What if basic functions like eating, sleeping or just making it through your day start to feel like “too much”?
Late-life depression affects about 6 million Americans ages 65 and older. Many changes that occur as we age can lead to depression such as medical illnesses, the death of spouses or other loved ones, and retirement. The effects of depression can extend far beyond changes in mood. Depression can cause people to become less energetic, experience changes in sleep patterns, changes in their appetites, as well as a decline in physical health.
According to a recent report in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, depression is one of the major causes of a decline in the health-related quality of life for senior citizens. Depression in seniors is often overlooked because the symptoms may look like other diseases such as arthritis or dementia. As a senior, taking a proactive approach to your mental health can make the difference between aging, and aging well. The following strategies can help:
There is great help available and many active ways to manage depression and to lift its cloud from your golden years. If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from depression, be sure to check in with your healthcare provider to make a treatment plan.