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5 Ways for Seniors to Overcome Depression 

This blog is compliments of Jim Vogel jim@elderaction.org

Depression has an unfortunately high rate among the senior population in the U.S. This is primarily a result of decreased social interaction, memory loss, and difficulty performing tasks they once enjoyed. There are some ways, however, to avoid becoming a statistic and fight off senior depression.

 

Find a Fun Group Activity

 

With the lack of socialization being the main culprit in senior depression, it only makes sense to seek out a way to make new friends and connections. Swim aerobics classes are fairly common and provide opportunities for peer interaction while boosting your mood with exercise. Additionally, swimming is proven to be a helpful form of exercise for recovering from serious illness such as cancer.

 

Tai Chi is another very popular form of group exercise for seniors as it is very relaxed and improves balance. Hobby groups such as crochet groups, quilting groups, and gardening clubs offer another way to meet a wide variety of people while engaging in an enjoyable activity.

 

Consider a Community College Course

 

Community college classes create an environment for mental stimulation and interaction with varied age groups. A good number of the schools will allow seniors to audit these courses for free. Not only does this provide a social opportunity, but it also benefits memory by keeping your mind working.

 

Volunteer for a Good Cause

 

Volunteering allows you to meet up with like-minded people while doing good for the world. If you like cooking, you might help out at a local soup kitchen. If you like animals, organizations often need volunteers to bottle feed and care for very young animals. The combination of feeling good about helping and the opportunity to meet new people is a great way to battle depression.

 

Find Your Sense of Purpose

 

Come up with a reason to get out of bed in the morning that makes you happy about the new day. It doesn’t have to be anything big. It could be babysitting grandkids, visiting with the neighbor, cooking meals for new parents in your social circles, going to church activities, or just getting outside to water the flowers.

 

No matter how small the task, what matters is that you have a reason to get up and enjoy each day. If you can’t think of one now, you can find one! You might want to start sewing dresses to donate to charities, crocheting blankets for terminal children, or maybe adopt a senior dog that needs love and attention. Find something you care about that motivates you.

 

Seek Help When You Need It

 

If depression has become a true struggle, you may need to reach out and get help. Help can come from family members, friends, spouses, or even church. It can also be very daunting to feel that you are imposing your problems on your loved ones. Professional help is always an option as well. With the era of technology, you may not even need to leave your home for help. There are websites, phone therapy, and online chats that can provide the comforting sense of anonymity.

 

Depression is too common among seniors to be ignored. Rediscover the fun to be had in life, learn something new, make new friends, and don’t be afraid to reach out.

 

Jim Vogel and his wife, Caroline, created ElderAction.org after they began caring for their ailing parents. Through that rewarding and sometimes difficult process they’ve learned a lot about senior care and specifically the need for more effective senior mental health and support. Their site offers elder-positive resources and other helpful information on aging. In his spare time, Jim loves fishing, reading, and spending time with his kids.

 

Image via Pixabay by Regenwolke0