Emotional and intellectual well-being in old age is closely linked with physical well-being. Human mind can have a big impact on the organism, and vice versa — health affects emotions, feelings and mood.
For the period of late adulthood (from 60 years) are characteristic specific changes in the emotional sphere: uncontrolled affective reactions, penchant for gratuitous sadness, tearfulness. Older people may have a tendency to eccentricity, reducing sensitivity, immersion and a reduced ability to cope with difficult situations.
The main reason of the doldrums is not perception of the situation of aging. In connection with the general aging of the body constantly grow physical infirmity, difficulties in self-service. Due to the fact that with age happens weakening of vision and hearing occur difficulty in communicating with others, a person is lonely and left alone with all the problems and ideas. Apart from the above listed, aging is also a period of large numbers of losses. This may be due to the death of a loved one or serious illness of the husband or wife, separation from kids, retirement, loss of job and loss of a certain social status.
From all this we can distinguish certain factors in connection with which there is a depression in advanced age. These factors are:
- Presence of stressful situations in life
- Deficiency or lack of social support
- Loneliness that compounds with the loss of a loved one
Also, do not forget that during this period appear or amplify severe heart illnesses, hypertension, atrial fibrillation, cancer, diabetes and dementia. And therefore such factors become relevant:
Uncontrolled reception of certain medications or combinations thereof
External physiological defects such as amputation of a limb, surgery on removal of a tumor or stroke with visible consequences
- Alcoholism or drug abuse
- Loss of loved ones
- Bouts of depression in the past
- Chronic pain
- Suicidal tendencies in the past
- Living alone, partial or complete isolation from society
- Heightened anxiety
- Fear of death
- Genetic predisposition to depressive states
At the beginning of the sickness the sick are worried about their mood, they are gloomy, struggle with insomnia. Thereafter grow phenomenon of anxiety with motor restlessness and agitation, develop various forms of depressive delusions — condemnation, punishment, death, suicidal ideas.
Distinctive features of depressive disorder in the elderly:
A person feels an increased concern for close people, their status and material well-being. An elderly person is constantly living the past, regrets missed opportunities. In this case, the attitude of surroundings seems unfair. It seems that everybody around deliberately oppress them — mentally or physically. Main feeling is an insult (“everybody wants to get rid of me”). And because of their low self-esteem, prove to them that nobody wants them harm by rational arguments is impossible. Symptoms of depression in old age occur when a person completely ceases to read, get hooked on soap operas or TV talk show, with challenging life stories that cause sympathy. Elderly people equate themselves to the heroes of these programs. Most seniors do not notice their doldrums; it seems a normal and natural mood. All proposals on granting psychological assistance get rejected, not to mention rejection of receiving antidepressants.
Depression in advanced age is often lasts much longer than in younger people. This greatly increases the chances of getting a heart attack, and even a rapid death from a chronic disease. Depression in old age reduces the human capacity for rehabilitation. Symptoms most strongly are manifested in the evening hours or at night. People suffering from this awful state yell, grumble, complain, moan and sometimes whimper. They bewilderedly look around and meaningless wander around the room, constantly rearranging some things or occupying themselves at least with something. Disturbingly melancholy state combines with a slow, lingering language, lethargy and stiffness. Sometimes a person freezes in place, falling into an autistic condition, sees and hears no one.
Especially dangerous this state is among men, because it often leads to suicide attempts. Most suicides occur at the age of 80-84.
People lose sleep or sleep becomes intermittent. The person wakes up very early and often starts the day feeling bad. Seniors should sleep as much time as slept at young age, and even longer. Often people complain about poor memory, loss of concentration, confusion. But these violations are reversible. On a hundred percent they are sure of the hopelessness of their situation, that this situation will continue indefinitely, the life will never changed, never become better. There is no joy in life, nothing brings satisfaction. Such people typically complain about a feeling of emptiness in the soul and the futility lived today and life in general. Most of the day they spend in bed, are indifferent about what is happening around them, sometimes cease to follow the personal hygiene. Such patients often say they are torturing their relatives that everything will only get better if they die.
To maintain activity and good humor is important to find something to replace “missed opportunities”. For example, if a person cannot do more jogging, swimming or walking will be an adequate substitute. If a person loved dancing, there is a need to choose a class that unites physical activity and socializing with others, for instance, aqua aerobics. Replacing some occupations with others gives sense that life goes on; there’s still much interesting and exciting, despite the fact that some activities are no longer available.
Physical activity contributes to the development chemicals that improve mood. Immobility, in contrast, can exacerbate depression, anxiety and stress. Studies have been conducted that support the hypothesis that Alzheimer’s disease or senile dementia often occur in people with low levels of physical activity.
Communication with people improves health. Those who feel a connection with other people, even if suffer from sicknesses, are much more emotionally stable and positive than lonely individuals. Older people may be carriers of valuable experience and wisdom, and when they share it and help others, it fills them with a sense of their lives, so that all members of this interaction are winners.
Like the body, the brain and vigor need care, and with inactivity they become null and void. The elderly need to perform different daily tasks that require mental effort: reading, learning to play a musical instrument, learning foreign language, crosswords, puzzles, intellectual games and so on.
And unfortunately, in some cases it is impossible to do without medications. Typically, antidepressants help to alleviate symptoms. Most antidepressants give positive results. But in the appointment of these preparations, be aware that there are adverse reactions and incompatibilities with other medications. In late adulthood antidepressants take longer time to start acting.
Many sick confirm that the active support of family and friends, participating in self-help, visits of support groups and psychotherapy sessions, give good results. The most effective method of psychotherapy is when a person refuses admission of medicaments.
Successful treatment of depressive disorders is impossible without a good and warm climate in the family of the patient. Attention and care, gratitude and praise for their help in doing household chores are priceless in the healing of loved ones from the serious illness. They must always feel the love and support of adult children and grandchildren, the indispensability in lives of dear people.