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November 29, 2016

Older adults are not immune to experiencing depression, and it can become a problem as friends or life partners pass on or activities that were once enjoyed are no longer possible. Cold Calgary winters can prevent outings, leaving some seniors confined and depression can set in and affect even the once happiest senior. The good news is that depression in seniors is treatable. Many seniors may have been raised during a time when depression or mental illness was misunderstood, and therefore may not recognize or understand their feelings. Being supportive of your loved ones that may be experiencing signs or symptoms of depression is the first step to moving them past it and towards a healthier state of mind.

Some tips for helping a depressed elderly friend, loved one or relative living at home or in senior care:

Listen and be present. Offering emotional support can help make a difference to someone experiencing depression. Lending an ear, and listening can sometimes be the remedy that one needs. Try not to criticize, but offer support and hope.

Schedule outings. Getting outdoors and being physical is well known to help combat feelings of depression. Activities like walks, and visits to local restaurants or museums can help to stimulate the mind and body, which will keep your senior healthy and active.

Encourage regular and healthy eating. A poor diet can feed symptoms of depression. Make sure your loved one Is eating a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables and protein at regular intervals throughout the day.

Find new social activities. While the loss of doing certain activities may contribute to feelings of depression, finding new activities can help fight those feelings. Depressed people usually feel better when they are around other people, so getting them out around others can often be an antidote.

Seek medical help. There can be many reasons why the onset of depression has occurred, sometimes as a result of new medications or other times from discontinuing others. Make sure that your loved one has the proper medical care, and the doctor is aware of their current life events. Medication should be taken properly and be certain that their doctor advises them when to take it and how. Other therapies may also be required and their doctor can advise the best treatment.

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