Until the New Year there is very little time left, children and adults are waiting for it with impatience. But older people are often not at all delighted with the holiday, rather, on the contrary, they expect a serious exacerbation of health problems and sleep disorders due to noise. In addition, on New Year’s Eve, emotions, both positive and negative, can flood, and also develops depression associated with various external and internal factors. Why is it harder for older people to survive the holidays, why does depression arise when there is an atmosphere of fun and joy around? How can you help your elderly parents or grandparents?
Holidays in old age
Far from all for the upcoming holidays is a joyful and fun time. So, many older people may experience a feeling of isolation and loneliness, especially during the New Year holidays. There are many reasons for this, and the older they are, the more acutely the problems can be felt.
During the holidays, the thoughts of older people may be negative. People may have memories of their youth, growing up and mistakes made in life, insufficient time spent with family and friends. But, as is often the case, the older the age, the more family members and friends the person loses.
Loved ones and friends leave far because of family and work responsibilities. Some people leave their homes, where they have spent decades of their lives, in order to improve, change their living conditions so that they meet their growing needs. Sometimes in old age people need special care and medical care, which requires staying in a nursing home or hospital. This also does not add optimism.
Emotions on holidays
Sometimes serious health problems involve moving to your family and children, but this is not always possible for material and other reasons. Older people may not be able to move from place to place, frequent the clinic, visit friends and children due to physical limitations, poor health or financial condition. This forces them to stay at home or live in specialized institutions. The feeling of isolation and loneliness can crush, provoke negative emotions, especially during the holidays. This time, which in the past was filled with events, traditions to celebrate the holiday with family and friends.
It is quite natural to experience nostalgia and different emotions. People tend to be sad when they think about the past and the good times that are now far away. There is a longing for friends and relatives who have passed away. Although sometimes these emotions can be difficult to assess and perceive by others, it is necessary to recognize that they are natural.
The risk of depression during the holidays
However, sometimes your own emotions can cause anxiety and turn into depression. The so-called “festive” depression common in the elderly. According to some estimates, between 8 and 16% of elderly people experience clinically significant depressive symptoms, and 5% of people who do not live in nursing homes have manifestations of a serious depressive disorder.
The feeling of sadness, depression, or “weakness” is only one of the symptoms of depression. A person may also lose interest or stop enjoying the activities in which he once participated. He may have trouble sleeping – either he sleeps much less, or much more than before. A depressed person may complain of low energy and experience frequent obsessive thoughts, feelings of guilt and dissatisfaction. Appetite can decrease, which leads to a sharp weight loss.
A person who develops depression may have a hard time motivating himself to start things every morning. Or, on the contrary, it can be difficult for him to sit still, he is constantly nervous during the day.
Sleep problems behavior
Depression may affect concentration – people cannot focus on what they are doing. Sleep is constantly disturbed, or it is difficult to fall asleep in the evenings, or it is extremely difficult in the mornings to wake up and “swing”. Often, poor sleep every day only aggravates the general condition.
People suffering from depression may even declare that they feel that life is not worth living or that they “should die”. In harsh circumstances, they may even attempt suicide, although for the elderly age it is not typical. You do not have to have all these symptoms to be depressed. But if an elderly person reports that:
- feels depressed most of the day;
- experiencing a loss of interest in the activities that he used to enjoy;
- he has disturbed sleep;
- there are at least some of the symptoms described earlier;
- symptoms last two or more weeks;
This meets the criteria for the diagnosis of primary depressive disorder.
Treatment of depression: health problems
Fortunately, depression treatments are available today. Medications may be used to help reduce the symptoms of depression that a person is experiencing. But often somatic health complicates the selection of drugs. For those who do not tolerate these drugs, or in cases where drugs do not work, the state of health does not allow them to be taken, psychotherapy will help. This treatment of mental problems with the help of a conversation with a psychiatrist, a psychotherapist. Sessions can be just as effective in treating depression as drugs are, but a person who experiences symptoms should be ready to talk about their feelings, and this is not an easy task for many.
Family, friends of the elderly should not only monitor somatic health, but also note changes in the mood or behavior of an elderly person, which may indicate depression.
If relatives notice something disturbing, you should not ignore the symptoms. You need to ask the person they are worried about, whether he feels depressed, tired or sad. Carefully follow how things are going, and if the mood does not improve or worsens within a few weeks, you should invite them to see a doctor to determine if the condition is a depressive disorder.
It is also important to support the elderly, as they are often left alone with their depression. If they do not live nearby, you need to call them, visit more often and communicate more. This approach to treatment is as effective as possible.