Geriatric Depression is a mental disorder characterized by a persistently depressed mood and feelings of severe despondency and dejection. Most of the elderly individuals suffer from depression, but, unfortunately, the symptoms are overlooked, as it is considered as a part of aging and is not diagnosed in the early phase and remains under-treated. The depression, in later life, differs from that in children or adults. Elderly people often experience cognitive difficulties, such as slowed thinking, difficulty in remembering or concentrating, unlike a kind of despair or apathy in younger individuals.
Multiple health issues, such as aging, and financial concerns make the elderly individuals suffer from depression. As one gets old, one may experience deterioration in the health, a loss of mobility, a loss of long-time career, a loss of independence, or a loss of someone whom they loved the most or one who has loved them the most. In the old age, chronic pain of various origins becomes an important cause of geriatric depression and the depression also magnifies the pain.
Causes for Depression in The Later Life:
- Medical Conditions:
Major illnesses, such as cancer, heart diseases, stroke, paralysis, Parkinson’s disease, joint deformities, disability, and cognitive decline, contribute to depression.
Factors, such as retirement, the death of loved ones, financial difficulties, relocation, lack of friends, and a loss of mobility, can make one difficult to socialize and adds the feelings of loneliness and isolation.
The loss of loved ones or the death of a partner, spouse, family members, friends or even pets is a common cause for depression. A difficult relationship with the present family members can trigger depression.
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Signs to Look Out for Late-Life Depression:
A lack of motivation, a lack of interest in hobbies and socializing, irritability, anger, preferring to be alone, thoughts of suicide, a feeling of being a burden on others, despair, persistent thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness, a loss of self-worth, difficulty concentrating or remembering, inability to make a decision, slowed thinking, a loss of memory, lack of energy, aches, pains, headache, digestive issues, eating more or less than usual, disturbed sleep, difficulty falling asleep at night, and daytime sleepiness are common symptoms of depression that elderly individuals may experience.
The Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) can help to identify depression in older adults.
Tips to Prevent Depression in Geriatric Population:
Exercise regularly. Exercise will help to uplift your mood and infuse the feeling of happiness in you. If you are physically active, you can avoid illnesses that can bring on disability.
- Adopt Healthy Eating Habits:
Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet will help to prevent illnesses. So, follow healthy eating habits.
- Make Your Mind:
Be prepared for the changes in your life, such as retirement or moving from your home, where you have stayed for many years, to some other abode. Learn to adapt to the changes.
- Stay in Touch with Family & Friends:
Visit your family and friends regularly. Stay connected to your community and closed ones. Go to a movie, play, or park, and have lunch with friends. Visit laughter centers. A short trip to a hairdresser, local community, or senior center.
Find a new hobby or interest. Learn a skill that you always wanted to. Learning new activities can help to prevent a decline in your mental health.
The combined approach which includes medicinal, psychotherapy, and physiotherapy may help to overcome this interrelated problem.
Role of Homeopathy in Treating Depression:
Homeopathy plays an important role in treating Depression in all age groups. Homeopathy is a holistic science. The concept of disease is a total affection of mind and body, and homeopathy addresses the condition at mind and body level. Any disease has multi-factorial causes, such as emotional, physical and genetic. Homeopathy takes care of all minute details, and, based on the detailed case history of each person, the homeopath recommends individualized medicines, which act at the physical level as well as emotional and mental spheres of the patient.
After a lifetime contribution to family, work, society, and nation, when a senior citizen becomes lonely and suffers from various physical and mental diseases, it is the moral duty of every single individual to help the old one. One should be prepared for the day when their declining health requires assistance for daily functioning.
And, if you happen to suffer from age-related depression, count on homeopathy without a second thought and improve your quality of life.