Many people simply cannot understand that a fat bank balance is not all thats needed to carry them through their retired lives. The days that seemed to be too short while you had to live under the grinding pressure of corporate lifestyle, now suddenly appear to be much longer. In the absence of a constructive plan, most people just cannot find the ways to fill their time. This can, ultimately, lead to depression. The result is that, though they may have started with quite impeccable health at the beginning of their retirement, they gradually start to lose it due to mental stress.
Depression in the elderly population has become rather common these days. This is true particularly in western societies. The increasing psychological plights of retired people, the true empty nesters of modern days, have become a cause for concern among the sociologists. Following a number of old age related suicides in various parts of the country, the issue of depression in elderly people has assumed national importance.
It is a bit more complex when it comes to the treatment of depression in elderly people. These complexities often arise out of the false thinking of elderly patients toward depression, who view it as a kind of weakness of the personality. The cultural stereotypes prevent them from looking at depression as just another ailment that can be cured through medication. This gets further complicated by old age rigidity, which stops them from asking for help.
The greatest problem in treating old age depression is that it is often unrecognizable or masked by other symptoms. These depressed elderly men and women often live alone with no one to recognize the symptoms of depression and extend the hand of help in time to overcome the depression.
Having said all this, it is not at all impossible to treat depression in the elderly. There are lots of ways that the family members, friends and caregivers can alleviate the depression from the mind of the person concerned.
In western societies, people after retirement suddenly come to feel, or they are made to feel, as if all their usefulness in this society is finished. This leaves them with purposelessness. Part-time employment or even unpaid social work can act as good antidepressant as they suddenly find some meaning to their lives. No matter how much money they are paid, it is the feeling of coming to service of others that gives them the reason to live and, finally, they are able to overcome the depression.
As we age, it can be a time of grief. You lose your spouse, the friends pass away one by one, and you suddenly start to live in a void. In these situations, elderly people will need a trained volunteer, who will perform the role of compassionate listener. Speaking of the loved ones, the losses, the painswill help them get relief from much of their depression.
In the most severe case of depression, you cannot do without medication. Todays antidepressants come with minimum side effects, and can work wonderfully to alleviate the symptoms of depression.
The religious teachings can also be helpful in many cases when dealing with the patients of depression.