Baby boomers and depression — guest post by Jordan Dahlberg
Posted Oct 06 2012 7:11pm
We all hate to admit it, but the inevitable is happening; we are getting older. As we age, a lot of changes seem to happen all at once – retirement, death of loved ones, increased isolation, medical problems and more. Many people find these changes prevent them from enjoying life as they used to and can lead to depression.
However, depression is not inevitable. Many people base their lives on the concept of, “prevention is the best form of medicine.” Depression is no exception. In this case, knowledge of depression – triggers, warning signs, and treatment options – can help you prevent it.
Causes of Baby Boomer Depression
There are lots of events that can trigger depression. While many people find it is a combination of events, it is possible that just one solo thing can be the instigator.
Health problems like illnesses or disease (diabetes, thyroid disorder, vitamin B12 deficiency, and multiple sclerosis), disability, chronic or severe pain, cognitive decline or surgery can lead to depression.
An increased sense of loneliness and isolation because of living alone, a dwindling social circle, and decreased mobility can have negative ramifications on a person’s mental state.
Baby boomers often suffer from a reduced sense of purpose, feelings of purposelessness and loss of identity brought on by retirement and physical limitations on activities.
A heightened level of fear (about dying, financial problems, and health issues) can bring about depression.
The recent death of a family member, friend, pet or spouse is difficult to recover from.
Depression is a common side-effect of drugs for blood pressure, heart disease, high-cholesterol and arthritis. It is also associated with sleeping pills, beta-blockers, and calcium-channel blockers.
Why People Don’t Seek Help
The reason depression is so sever amongst the elderly is because people don’t seek help. Many times, individuals assume there is a good reason for their feelings – it is just a part of aging. Or, they are so isolated that no one notices their distress. Others may not recognize the physical symptoms of depression as warning signs. Sadly, a lot of patients feel reluctant to talk about their feelings or ask for help.
Symptoms and Warning Signs
If you are experiencing any of the following, your suffering may be a result of depression
Lost of interest in activities you used to enjoy
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of appetite
Feeling like it is harder and harder to get through the day
Difficulty maintaining relationships
Your baby boomer loved one may be suffering from depression if he or she is exhibiting the following warning signs
Social withdraw and isolation
Weight loss or decreased appetite
Daytime sleepiness, difficulty falling asleep or oversleeping
Neglecting personal care – skipping meals, forgetting medications, neglecting personal hygiene)
Your doctor can prescribe a wide variety of anti-depression medication. However, there are tons of ways you can reverse – and prevent – depression on your own.
Get enough sleep
Maintain a healthy diet
o Go for a walk
o Play miniature golf or go to the putting green
o Go to the local pool for the adult swim hour or join a water aerobics class
Spend time with other people
o Invite the family to the park for a picnic
o Host a karaoke night
o Star a book club
o Host a backyard BBQ
o Host an ice cream social
Learn something new or revisit your old hobbies
o Learn to play corn toss
o Plant a raised-bed garden
o Go fishing
o Take up bird watching
o Go to a baseball game
o Go to an outdoor concert
o Visit the zoo
o Learn to bake
Help your baby boomer loved one fight depression by
Inviting your loved one to do something you know he or she used to enjoy
Scheduling regular social activities
Planning and preparing healthy meals
Making sure all medications are taken as instructed
Guest blogger Jordan Dalhberg was looking for ways to help his grandpa beat the blues after his wife died. Jordan works for customcorntoss.com ; he decided to bring one of the corn toss game sets home from the office and helped his grandpa host a tournament. Now, all of Grandpa’s buddies gather every Saturday to socialize and help each other get through one more day. In the meantime, Jordan has become a self-taught expert on the issue of depression. He is determined to help Grandpa get through this difficult time.