3 Ways To Help Older Adults With Depression

Depression is not biased. It impacts all ages, races, and cultures. Unfortunately, depression in older adults is often overlooked and sometimes explained away by physical ailments or general symptoms of ‘getting older’ by others.

Sometimes older adults are hesitant to talk about the way that they are feeling with others due to fear of looking weak or feeling like a burden. If you know an older adult that may have depression, here are three ways to be helpful.

Listen to stories of loss.
Loss is a common theme in the lives of older people. We think of the loss of other loved ones or friends which can have devastating impacts on support systems. Loss often makes older people fearful of their own death or scared in general of what the future holds for them. Listen to them and provide a space to share memories about those important people.

Loss can also be a factor in terms of losing abilities. For someone who was always active to have a knee replacement or have a stroke, it can be hard to mourn that loss of functioning and find ways to blend hope with realistic expectations. It can be helpful to remind them of their strengths that they do have and that even though they can’t garden the whole afternoon like they used to, they can take breaks and still enjoy the activity.

Engage socially and connect.
Loss of others and loss of functioning level can also increase isolation in the older population. Although, we have so many ways to connect with others through the phone and internet, having face to face conversations is so valuable. Help older adults connect with others through community events, churches, and local parks/recreation centers.

Help them learn a new skill. Sometimes even interacting with their pet or visiting a friend with a pet can help reconnect to old memories and improve overall mood. Laugh together. Humor helps us connect and refocus on joy even in difficult times.

Move and Get Outside.
When mobility is limited, moving can feel like an enormous feat, but studies show that even minimal movements such as going for a short walk can reduce mental health symptoms. Movement will look different for everyone. Some older adults may be able to engage in aerobic classes or yoga while other older adults may be more limited to simple stretches within their home.

Celebrate whatever movement looks like for them. Sitting outside together on the porch while drinking morning coffee is another great way to pair socializing with getting that Vitamin D.

Do you know an older adult with depression or are you an older adult who is thinking that you have depression and would like additional support? You are not alone.

Let our Therapist Renee Pugh help! Schedule an appointment today

A Five-Step Guide to Healing Emotional Trauma

If you’ve experienced an extremely stressful or disturbing event that’s left you feeling hopeless and emotionally unstable, you may have been traumatized. Emotional trauma can leave you struggling with difficult emotions, memories, flashbacks and anxiety that won’t go away. Trauma can also leave you feeling numb and disconnected from others. It’s not something you can just “get over”. Healing from emotional trauma is a process. Luckily, there are things you can do to speed up your recovery.

Step One: Reestablish a Routine

After a traumatic event, getting back to a routine can help speed up the healing process. There’s comfort in the familiar. Even if your professional routine is disrupted from the trauma, try to establish a new normal with things like eating, sleeping and spending time with others who support you.

Step Two: Get Moving

Physical activity has many proven health benefits. It can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, and memory loss. Exercise works as an instant mood boost which is essential when recovering from trauma. Burn off adrenaline and release endorphins that lead to healthy, holistic healing. This is why we offer yoga at our Trauma Center in Raleigh specifically designed for healing trauma.

Step Three: Stay Connected

Healthy relationships, group activities, and social events are beneficial to those healing from trauma. The most important thing is NOT to isolate. You might fell unsure about others. Some emotional trauma sufferers are unable to trust others. Support and open communication are essential in healing.

Step Four: Eat Right

Food is fuel for your body. Your thoughts and feelings can be affected by what you eat. The gut-brain connection is an essential part of overall wellness. Your gut and brain are connected through millions of nerves. Fermented foods (like yogurt) and Omega-3 fats are great choices to help ensure your gut-brain connection runs smoothly.

Step Five: Join a Support Group

You don’t have to suffer alone. Our Trauma Center in Raleigh, NC, offers specific support and healing for those who suffer from trauma. Work with a professional who can help you heal. Our team can help you gain freedom from your struggles.

Learn more about our Trauma Recovery Center and the programs available for holistic healing.