Tips For Preventing Depression in Older Adults
Aging brings plenty of life changes, but depression doesn’t have to be one of them.
Depression is a real and treatable medical condition, meaning it’s something you should discuss with your doctor if you’re suddenly not feeling like yourself.
Like other health concerns, there are things you can do to help lessen the chances of experiencing the blues. Here are a few:
- Stay active.
When we’re active, our bodies release chemicals that help to elevate our mood. You don’t have to perform strenuous exercise or run yourself ragged. Simply taking a walk or working in the yard is enough to provide benefits.
- Connect with friends.
Isolation is a common trigger for depression. It’s easy to let long stretches of time pass without seeing friends or family, but this can be detrimental to your mental health. Whenever possible, schedule a phone chat or date with friends to stay connected to those you love.
- Cultivate your hobbies.
Aging doesn’t have to mean giving up the things you love to do. If possible, carve out time for the activities you’ve always enjoyed. If you’re unable to continue with a certain hobby due to physical limitations why not take the opportunity to learn something new instead? Filling your time with the activities that bring you pleasure can help you maintain a healthier state of mind.
- Eat great food.
Our nutritional needs change as we age, and our taste buds do too. For some older adults, this limits the joy that food once brought. However, it’s vitally important to not skip meals or deprive yourself of good food. Use these changes as a catalyst for trying new dining options or taking up cooking as a hobby.
When you nourish your body well, you’re likely to feel happier and more energized.
- Get quality sleep.
Even though your sleep patterns may have changed with age, it’s still extremely important to get quality rest. If you have difficulty sleeping, look into ways to improve your sleep hygiene, and don’t hesitate to invest in better bedding.
If you are not getting enough quality sleep, your mental and physical health will suffer, so be sure to inform your doctor if you’re consistently feeling tired.
Depression is Not a Fact of Life
Growing older is inevitable, but a decline in your mental health is not. If you’re feeling isolated, lethargic, unhappy or unlike yourself, know that it can be treated. Between making lifestyle adjustments and following your doctor’s advice, you’ll be back to your usual self in no time.