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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

Five hearing tech announcements that could benefit older adultsPosted: 12 Sep 2016 07:20 AM PDTHearing technology advances -- the hearing aid industry considers changing. It’s a positive when you see disruption of industries that have too tight a lock on the consumer, whether it is in categories of health insurancetelecom carriers or hearing aids.  You spend time with people everywhere you go – those with significant hearing loss but no hearing aids; they have hearing aids, but hate to wear them.  According to a recent NY Times article, two-thirds of adults over 70, but only 15-30% of those wear them – and at $5000 a pair, no wonder. In recent years, personal sound amplification products(PSAPs) that are not classified as hearing aids and thus do not require the audiologist role, though the FDA may change that. Just asking, if the device is called a 'Wearable,' does Silicon Valley find it more worthy of funding?  But anyway. In July, Consumer Reports published an explanatory guide that should be required reading for organizations that serve older adults. It would seem to be the wild west of innovation.  Here is a sampling of five recent product announcements:ReSound. The firm "introduced a new model to the award-winning ReSound LiNX2™ family: the world's only mini behind-the-ear (BTE) model to feature Made for iPhone. In addition, the mini BTE also features telecoil capabilities. ReSound LiNX2 is the world’s first internet-connected hearing aid, connecting to the internet to locate misplaced hearing aids. This new model enhances the award-winning ReSound Smart Hearing portfolio, giving users even more choices to meet individual preferences and hearing loss needs." Learn more at Resound.Oticon. 

"Technological limitations of current hearing aids have led to the use of tunnel directionality: Speech coming from the front is clear, whereas the rest of the sound environment is suppressed. This results in a limited, narrowed and artificial listening experience. With new, groundbreaking technology, Oticon Opn™ is fast and precise enough to analyse and follow the soundscape and differentiate between sounds. Even in complex listening environments, this allows Oticon Opn™ to constantly open up and balance individual sounds to deliver a rich and meaningful soundscape, empowering the brain to choose on which sounds to focus." Learn more at Oticon.
Eargo. 

Silicon Valley based startup that "offers an entry-level rechargeable hearing aid (FDA class I medical device) that it sells directly to consumers. Eargo is a near-invisible in-the-canal device offering four volume settings. Developed by a French ENT, it features patented silicone “flexi-fibers” that enable the device to sit comfortably deep in the ear canal while letting air and natural sound flow freely to the eardrum. At $1,980 per pair, the Eargo hearing aids are more expensive than many of the new off-the shelf “hearables” (classified as personal sound amplification products, or PSAPs, by the FDA), but less expensive than the higher end hearing aids fitted by audiologists." Learn more at HearingTracker.com.

Cochlear.
 "Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, announces today it has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its newest innovative hearing loss solution, Kanso. The Kanso Sound Processor provides a distinct new way for cochlear implant users to hear. Unlike most hearing aids and current cochlear implant sound processors that are worn on the ear, Kanso is a small, off-the-ear hearing device  that provides a more discreet hearing solution and delivers the same hearing experience as a behind-the-ear sound processor." Learn more at Cochlear.

iHearMedical.
 "iHear® Medical announced today the launch of the world’s first online hearing solutions platform. The company begins taking orders today for its flagship invisible iHEARHD® hearing aid, and the iHearTest™, which recently received landmark FDA approval as the first and only home hearing screener. Delivery of iHear products starts July 15, 2016. The company also plans to launch the iHEARMAX™, a mini behind-the-ear hearing device, on August 15, 2016. iHear’s products are currently being offered in the U.S., with plans to introduce them in China and other markets in 2017." Learn more at iHearMedical.