DEPRESSION IN THE ELDERLY

For the past few months now I have been dreading the thought of moving.  It is not the actual move that gets me in a knot, but it is the thought of downsizing that is getting me anxious. Actually I am looking forward to a new place, new surroundings and new adventures. What I am not looking forward to is the downsizing. I never thought this day would come so fast.  Yet, here I sit in this dilemma.  I don’t really want to move into an apartment, yet I really can’t do the winter shoveling by myself anymore. I will miss the backyard and gardening terribly because I feel it grounds me, and of course the BBQ.  I did look at a few apartments but I feel they are soooo small!!  On average one bedroom apartments are half the square footage of 2 bedroom apartments.  Then there is only ONE closet. I just don’t know what to do. The closet dilemma in a 2 bedroom apartment is not much better.

Also, I am very claustrophobic. I thank my mother for this.  She was the same way.  I always have to see my exits and be able to know I can get out of any situation and breathe.  Stay with me on this.  As I was looking at apartments last night on the computer I got one of those AHA moments.  I thought no wonder why so many elderly people are depressed and lonely.  Losing a loved one is very hard.  One of the worst stressors on a person especially to someone older who possibly has some health issues already.  At this point is when a dramatic move for the grieving usually takes place.  This causes more stress.  Moving to new surroundings that are usually small and foreign, sometimes having to leave behind everything they owned.  To you and me, we may see it as material things.  To that person it is their life.  It is all they have left and now they are being told to choose a few keepsakes and get rid of the rest. Just like that.  No wonder in Western cultures there is a higher prevalence of depression in old people!!!

Look at the list of the top five causes of stress.  Just one of these can knock a young healthy person down for awhile.

Top 5 Major Causes of Stress:

Death, Divorce (Serious relationship problems)

Work instability (layoffs, fired, downsizing, etc.)

Loneliness

Debt, finances

Moving (downsizing, upsizing, etc.)

Stress causes depression, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. There’s a well-known deadly link between stress and heart disease. Research has also shown that stress plays a significant role in Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome – a debilitating fatigue that can include muscle aches, fever and sleep disturbances. One study has shown that stress can kill brain cells and causes cancer cells to resist treatment..

As you can see they are faced with 3 of the 5 top causes for stress.  All at the same time!!

I think it is about time we take some guidance from the Eastern cultures where family takes care of their own.  The elderly are considered Elders and respected and taken care of by the family.   More importance should be placed on the care of families not individuals.

This was my rant for today.  Where did I go with this?  I feel there would be less depression amongst the elderly if we followed some of the Eastern cultures.

Have a great day!!

Donna

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About Donna

I am a Certified Reiki Practitioner, freelance writer, poet and mentor of Life.
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