Although depression can occur in a person of any age, elderly people are more prone to depression owing to the lifestyle transition from a more active working lifestyle to a slow retired lifestyle. The symptoms of depression that they usually face include - a persistent feeling of despair, sadness, hopelessness or emptiness in their minds, inability to enjoy the everyday activities, abnormal sleep patterns such as chronic insomnia or oversleeping, or recurring suicidal tendencies. Other common symptoms include memory lapse, confused behavior, social withdrawal, loss of appetite, and / or even hallucinations. These signs of depression must be recognized and not brushed aside as mere signs of aging.
Here is a list of activities that would help in preventing depression in elderly people.
1. Opening up and sharing one's pain or grief with others has a very soothing impact on the heart as well as the brain. So, it is advisable for the elderly to spend sometime with close friends or supportive family members and give vent to their bitter experiences. If this is not helpful, then the elderly can seek the support of professionals or any non-formal support groups that focus on helping people cope and recover from their grief.
2. Looking at the state of other less fortune beings and helping them to cope with their miseries provides one with a lot of inner satisfaction and improves the feeling of self worth. So, the elders can devote a part of their time helping other less fortune people either at the old age homes or at the orphanages or at the hospitals.
3. Regular exercise and adequate healthy food plays a very important role in preventing depression in the elderly. Elders can enroll themselves in seniors' exercise classes or join a walking/ jogging group, which will keep their mind as well as body fit.
4. Lastly, it is very important that the elders take their prescribed medicines regularly so as to minimize the side effects, which might even include certain signs of depression.