It can affect every aspect of your life, stealing your energy, changing your appetite, and diminishing joy. Of the approximately 40 million senior adults in America, about 15% suffer from some form of depression. While 58% of older adults think it is “normal” to become depressed, depression in seniors is actually a very serious illness.
The symptoms of depression can effect energy, sleep, interest in work, hobbies and even your relationships. This is why it’s so vital to both recognize and treat symptoms of depression as soon as they present themselves. While medication and exercise may be prescribed by your doctor, numerous studies have shown that two of the greatest contributing factors to depression are weak social bonds and feelings of lonesomeness. This isolation often occurs when seniors live by themselves, especially after the death of a partner. These feelings can influence health and even increase mortality.
Living in retirement communities can help alleviate depression by putting seniors into situations where they can connect and form new social ties with other residents, caretakers, and staff. Volunteer opportunities, mentorships, and even part-time work can also assist seniors in combating feelings of isolation.
Many retirement communities like Bethany Village include classes, group outings, opportunities for social dining, and other activities where seniors can connect with and engage their peers. As exercise has also been shown to improve feelings of well-being, group exercise programs – offered at many retirement communities – are especially beneficial.
Watch for signs of irritability, social withdrawal, increased pain, and reduced self-esteem in yourself or a loved one. Seniors remain the least likely age group to seek out help for depression. Reach out to family, friends, and your doctor, and explore your retirement living options. The first step in alleviating depression is asking for help and seeking out the company of others.