Everyone can experience depression and loneliness. However, senior citizens can be prone to deal with it even more so given the conditions of their age and circumstances. According to Mental Health America, 1 out of 17 Americans over the age of 65 suffer from some form of depression and 20% of all suicides in the United States are attributed to seniors, in particular.
The aging process can bring about a variety of negative experiences, whether it’s feeling generally sad or unhappy, having trouble sleeping, experiencing anxiety or a loss in appetite as well as little interest in normal, everyday activities. What can be done about this dilemma? After all, just because you’re getting up there in years doesn’t mean you still can’t experience great joy and happiness.
Here are three main ways to help seniors cope with loneliness and depression.
Hobbies. Learning new things and maintaining hobbies is important to keep the mind—and body—at work while also keeping depression at bay. Whether it’s exercise, playing cards, volunteer work, lunch clubs, choirs or dances—all of these contribute to a full and exciting life. While it’s fun to continue hobbies that have been a part of life for some time, it’s also equally as fun to try new ones!
Pets. What is better than the feeling of a cute puppy or small kitten to keep us company? No doubt pets provide unconditional love and true companionship, as well as a concerted sense of purpose. It’s hard to feel lonely or sad when a furry ball of joy is sitting next to you.
Social activities. Participating in events at local senior community centers and visiting with family and friends is of great use in alleviating depression and loneliness. Naturally, depressed people feel better when in the company of others, so seeking out that person-to-person contact is vital.
Thankfully, we are living in a day and age where a focus on the aging population is becoming more a part of our culture, which also means so will attention to their mental health. Hopefully, these top three tips were useful to you and your loved ones!