Being alone can be quite depressing. Even more so for our elderly loved ones. Depression can affect their physical health and sink them into a downward spiral of self-neglect and deeper sadness. They may stop eating, bathing or calling friends and family.
However, there are a few things that can help. Here are some of the most recommended actions for dealing with depression and anxiety:
Setting up a routine – it’s good to establish a familiar order for daily activities. This avoids confusion or the need to make decisions about what to do during the day.
Eating healthy – avoid junk food and overeating. Have plenty of fruits and vegetables such as spinach, as well as avocados, tuna and salmon.
Getting sunshine, or lighting rooms up brightly. When sadness comes on dark days, a light box can help with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Rhythmic breathing – breathe deeply through your nose to the count of four, then exhale through your mouth to the count of four. Repeat five to ten times.
Challenging negative thoughts – ask yourself for evidence of unsympathetic ruminations.
Making a gratitude list – write down all the things for which you are grateful, even if it’s simply the sunshine.
Writing or telling your story – older loved ones have a lot to say about their life and times. Leaving memories with others, especially a younger generation can be enlightening to the listener.
Talking to someone – it need not be a profound conversation; even chit-chatting will do.
Moving – if it’s not possible to walk outside, walk around the house (even with a walker) or go up and down the stairs when able. Just getting out of that chair and stretching is good.
Doing something new – learn to play a new game, or listen to an interesting audio book
Having fun – play a game; cards, monopoly, checkers, chess. Tell jokes or remember happy times.
Our care givers can help with all of these. They can establish routines and healthy eating habits. They can help with writing, story-telling, chatting, playing games or helping with ambulatory difficulties.
Give us a call and find out how our care givers can help your loved one manage symptoms of depression.