"Depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health issues are NOT a normal part of aging. Left untreated, they can lead to fatigue, illness, and even suicide. We promote programs that can help seniors cope. One in four older adults experiences some mental disorder such as depression, anxiety, and dementia." (National Council on Aging)"
"As with younger adults, a variety of mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, affect older adults. Stressors common in late life significantly affect the health and independence of older adults. Life stressors include adapting to and coping with late-life transitions..." (American Psychological Assoc.) such as... "Moving to a new location, dealing with health problems and coping with the death of a friend or spouse"... which can lead to ..." loneliness and isolation, loss of purpose, loss of independence, changes in health, decreased physical ability and problems with the demands of caregiving." (NebFact, University of Nebraska)
"Studies indicate that 50-70% of all primary care medical visits are related to psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, and stress. Physical and mental health affect each other. For example, older adults with medical problems such as heart disease have higher rates of depression than those who are medically well. Conversely, untreated depression in an older person with heart disease negatively affects the outcome of the disease. Even mild depression lowers immunity and may compromise a person's ability to fight infections and cancers." (American Psychological Association)
Depression is a common problem among older adults, but it is NOT a normal part of aging. In fact, studies show that most older adults feel satisfied with their lives, despite having more illnesses or physical problems. However, important life changes that happen as we get older may cause feelings of uneasiness, stress, and sadness.
Depression is a real illness. It is not a sign of a person’s weakness or a character flaw. You can’t “snap out of” clinical depression. Most people who experience depression need treatment to get better. For instance, the death of a loved one, moving from work into retirement, or dealing with a serious illness can leave people feeling sad or anxious.
After a period of adjustment, many older adults can regain their emotional balance, but others do not and may develop depression. (National Institute of Health, National Institute on Aging)
"Depression in older adults is a very treatable disorder. However, symptoms of depression in older adults are often overlooked because they are inaccurately assumed to be a normal part of aging or may coincide with medical illnesses or life events that commonly occur as people age... Depression has a powerful negative impact on ability to function, resulting in high rates of disability. The World Health Organization projects that by the year 2020, depression will remain a leading cause of disability, second only to cardiovascular disease ."(American Psychological Association)
Depression in older adults may be difficult to recognize because they may show different symptoms than younger people. For some older adults with depression, sadness is not their main symptom. They may have other, less obvious symptoms of depression, or they may not be willing to talk about their feelings. Therefore, doctors may be less likely to recognize that their patient has depression.
(National Institute of Health)
"Anxiety is as common among the old as among the young. In fact, many older adults with an anxiety disorder had one when they were younger.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder among older adults, though anxiety disorders in this population are frequently associated with traumatic events such as a fall or acute illness...
...Older adults fear falling more than robbery, financial stress, or health problems. About 10 percent report excessive fear, and at least 3 percent of community-dwelling older adults avoid leaving their homes or yards." (Anxiety and Depression Assoc. of Amer.)
Dementia is a syndrome, not a disease. A syndrome is a group of symptoms that doesn’t have a definitive diagnosis. Dementia affects mental cognitive tasks such as memory and reasoning. Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's are degenerative diseases that fall under this umbrella term. Other causes include: stroke, infections, vascular diseases, depressions, and chronic drug use. Each dementia causes damage to different sets of brain cells.
Alzheimer’s Disease is responsible for about 50 -70 percent of all cases of dementia and the World Health Organization (WHO) says that 47.5 million people around the world are living with dementia. (HealthLine.com)
Local park districts, senior centers, libraries, junior colleges and churches often have activities and programming geared for older adults.
Check out your local paper, newsletters, their websites and ours for a link.
Whether taking a walk in the great outdoors, at a gym or in a mall, you MUST MOVE to promote good heart and bone health. Physical therapy can also be an extremely useful tool to strengthen core muscles, correct posture & exercise wisely.
If you have good habits... keep them!
Encourage your friends to do so also.
It's always more fun to be with a group and keep yourself accountable.
Don't be afraid to ask for help...
There's plenty of it out there in the form of therapists, in-home care, respite, county & local assistance and senior living experts who can advise and/or find Continuing Care Communities, Independent and Assisted Living Facilities to accommodate changes in your needs or circumstances.
They say laughter is the best medicine and socialization (spending time with friends and family) is the key to aging gracefully!
Volunteer! Help out where you are passionate, and make new friends at the same time!
Keep that brain sharp!
You're never to old to learn or try something new.
Take a class, experiment, share what you've learned and lend excitement to your daily activities.
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