Depression in the elderly: 7 coping strategies to reduce the risk

Depression is one of the most common mood disorders in older adults, and here are some habits that can help control your risk.

Depression is a mental and emotional disorder that affects not only the younger generation but also the elderly. Feeling sad and sometimes feeling “blue” is normal. However, persistent depression is not a typical part of the aging process. Depression in older adults can reduce quality of life and increase the risk of suicide. Read on to learn about symptoms to watch for and treatment options.




Symptoms of depression are the same at all ages:

  • Sadness
  • Feeling worthless
  • Tired
  • Irritability
  • lack of concentration
  • Jitter
  • Change the taste
  • Withdraw money
  • Sleep problems

Treatment spoke to Dr. Sonal Anand, psychiatrist from Wockhardt Mira Road hospital and shared 7 daily habits that can really help reduce the risk of depression in the elderly.

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  1. Engage in meaningful activities: One of the most effective ways to prevent depression in the elderly is to encourage seniors to engage in meaningful activities. Whether it’s pursuing a hobby, joining a club or group, or volunteering for a cause they believe in, these activities can give seniors a sense of accomplishment, social connection, and satisfy. By nurturing a sense of purpose and engagement in their daily lives, this not only prevents feelings of loneliness and isolation but also promotes positive mental health.
  2. Nurture social connections: Encouraging regular interactions with family members, friends, and neighbors can significantly enhance emotional well-being. What’s more, technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected no matter where you are. Facilitating the use of video calls or online platforms can help older adults maintain relationships with loved ones despite physical limitations.
  3. Prioritize physical health: Regular exercise has been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms related to depression in the elderly. Encouraging older adults to engage in low-impact exercises such as walking, yoga or swimming can benefit both their physical and mental health.
  4. Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking as a temporary escape: Alcohol acts as a central nervous system depressant, leading to chemical changes in the brain that can worsen symptoms of depression. Additionally, excessive alcohol consumption disrupts sleep, reducing important restorative processes needed to maintain mental health.
  5. Practicing Yoga: Meditation and yoga have long been praised as effective methods to reduce stress and improve morale. However, did you know they can also help alleviate symptoms of depression? By combining mindfulness and gentle movement, meditation and yoga aim to restore balance in both the mind and body. In addition to improving mood, these exercises also focus on deep relaxation techniques, such as controlled breathing exercises and gentle stretches to calm the mind.
  6. A healthy diet is essential for managing depression: Omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish such as salmon and sardines are linked to reduced rates of depression and are thought to help treat depression. Regulate neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. Processed foods, which contain carbohydrates and too much sugar, are linked to many different metabolic disorders. Instead, focusing on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and legumes can make a noticeable difference in your mental health.
  7. Consult a therapist: Many therapies can also help seniors with depression. Art therapy is a process where you express your emotions creatively. In psychotherapy, you talk in a private setting with a trained therapist.

Published Date:Oct 16, 2023 6:37 pm IST

Updated Date:October 16, 2023 6:37 PM IST

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