Depression in seniors is a very serious matter everyone should care about. In fact, there are multiple factors that can bring to it, and that is why it is very common, especially among men. When aging, an elder person can find themselves quite isolated, but too proud to ask for help from their close ones. Having to deal with that, health problems of every sort and fatigue, along with chemical imbalance, can cause a deep feeling of inadequacy, and the awareness that it is not rewarding anymore to do the things one liked the most.
For instance, one could adore reading, but is not able to because their sight is deteriorating. Although this is perfectly normal, there are many ways to outbalance and improve such problems, most of which are due to the improvement of technology. Because these problems involve everyone’s lives, it is important to reflect on them and to reach together the best solution possible with care and love. Here are 10 ways to help prevent depression in seniors:
1. Don’t leave them alone!
Seniors feel often isolated because we get caught up in our lives, having to deal with work, a family, and other personal problems. The fact is that it is a matter of laziness not having 10 minutes to call your loved ones daily, and to plan something to do once a week with them. If you have a family and kids, you could also make calls in turns so that your parents will hear different voices and different stories.
If you live far from your loved ones, and they don’t like to use the phone, write them letters and attach something unique- a bookmark, a pin, a postcard… to the letter.
Books are great at keeping company, but they are also an addictive hobby that an elder person can share with their family and friends. This is why, if your parents don’t live near a local library or a bookshop, you should be the one to get them books- when they will be finished, your loved ones can borrow them to a member of your family and then talk about their impressions. For the most technological seniors, an eReader is the perfect option, since it doesn’t tire eyes, it is very simple to use, and has a lot of functionalities they could use.
If your parents can’t read because of sight impairments, it would be a great idea to read a book out loud together or, even better, to use audiobooks. Not only are they great to hear, but they also add something to the story, such as background sounds and music, that one wouldn’t have in the paper format.
Gardening is a long-term passion, meaning that you have to have patience and daily time to dedicate to it. Since it is something that involves a routine, gardening is a great hobby to pick up to prevent depression, because it gives motivation to grow some plants in order to reach a goal (it could be growing your own fruits and vegetables), but it is also possible to switch something up every time, such as changing type of plant/flower to cultivate, when one gets bored of it.
4. Senior clubs
Senior clubs are great if you feel like your elderly parents need to interact more with someone their age and keep in touch with the outer world. There are many types of clubs- book clubs, for instance-, that usually go on with weekly dinners, fun games and contests, etc.
Cooking is a great activity one can do alone or in a group. With the aid of the internet, it is now possible to look for video recipes and new cooking ideas from all over the world. Because many seniors already know how to cook, a good idea would be to gather together weekly and prepare a meal together, but if you want to do something more challenging, meet up for an ‘ethnic food night’ in which each of you tries to cook a dish of a specific foreign cuisine. Your senior loved one could practice during the week, and learn more about different countries through internet searches, TV and movies.
6. Cinema membership card
If your parents like movies, and the cinema is not that far away- why not gift them with a cinema membership card? They will be able to see a number of films when they want, so that they will have an external distraction. Morning movies are great because they could meet people their age there and bond.
If they can’t go to the cinema, though, DVDs are your best option.
7. Clean house
A clean house is one of the secrets to prevent depression. Why? When people age, it is more difficult for them to take care of the house but, at the same time, it is never pleasant to live somewhere unclean. This is why helping your parents to clean their house, which means allowing them to do a bit of the work so that they play a role in it too, is really important. Good living conditions are fundamental, although sometimes underrated.
8. Go to museums together
A really fun thing to do together with your elderly parents is to go to museums- you can explore art, discover something curious about history, try all the museum cafeterias- they are usually great!
9. Listen to them
This tip could be obvious to some, but it must never be taken for granted. When you are together, really listen to your parents’ thoughts and feelings, interact with them to demonstrate you care, even if it means to go through memory lane for the hundredth time, or play that game you never really liked just because they have fun. It is a small action on your part, but it means a lot to them.
10. Get regularly checked by a doctor
Last but not least, go regularly to the doctor’s in order to be sure everything is fine, and that there are no supplements to be taken.