The holiday season is celebrated for its peace, joy and good tidings. A festive time full of social interactions, gift giving and time honored family traditions. For most, it’s the happiest time of the year. However, studies show that seniors are often at risk of depression at the holidays.
Experiencing the blues, feelings of sadness, loneliness, grieving the loss of a loved one, especially around the holidays is perfectly normal. However, depression is not a normal part of aging. According to the National Institute of Health, the prevalence of major depressive disorder at any given time in community samples of adults aged 65 and older ranges from 1-5% in most large-scale epidemiological investigations in the United States and internationally.
To ensure your or a loved one’s holiday is merry and bright, it’s important to watch for these signs of depression:
- Abandoning or losing interest in hobbies
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Weight loss or loss of appetite
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of self-worth
- Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
- Fixation on death; suicidal thoughts
It is important to remember depression is not a sign of weakness. There can be any number of contributing factors, including a change in health, structural changes in the brain and chemical imbalances. The good news is that depression is very treatable.
Concerned that you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of depression? The first step is to talk to talk to someone you trust. Tell a friend or family member how you are feeling or speak candidly with your loved one about your concerns for them. Next, schedule an appointment with a physician. There are medications and other treatments that can help those suffering from depression return to enjoying life. Know that treatment is not instantaneous; there is not a “magic pill” that can make it better overnight. In fact, some medications, can take weeks to achieve the desired affect. That is why the sooner you reach out to your/your loved one’s physician, the better. Some people are prescribed other therapies in lieu of or in addition to drugs.
MBK Senior Living communities understand psychosocial support is an important component of care. We offer a variety of supportive services to meet the needs of our residents. If you have questions, concerns or would like to know more about the services offered at MBK Senior Living, call your local MBK community.