Christmas time is here! While this is a season of joy and gladness for many, it can be a difficult time for some. And the older we get, the more holiday challenges we may face. Perhaps children have grown up and moved away, leaving a person feeling lonely. Maybe friends or even a spouse has fallen ill. It could be that the years have brought physical limitations such as poor eyesight, hearing loss or hampered mobility. All of these changes can impact how someone feels about the holiday season.
The Difference Between Feeling Down and Depression
While it is not at all unusual for circumstances such as these to create brief periods of feeling blue for the elderly, this is not the same as being depressed. The difference between feeling down and being depressed is that occasional bouts of sadness are temporary and normal activities continue. Depression, on the other hand, is profound enough to keep a person from taking part in the things they normally care about including holiday celebrations. It can affect how a person functions, their personal relationships and their physical health.
Untreated Depression Can Become Worse
Sometimes the isolation of depression can lead a person to thoughts of suicide. Many times depression is linked to physical illness. As the body ages and sicknesses arise, mental health problems such as depression can take an opportunistic hold. The good news is that while untreated depression can worsen, it is a mental health condition that is highly treatable – one which many older adults overcome.
At Family Guidance we see clients of all ages, including older ones facing the challenges of depression at holiday time. If you or an older adult in your life is living with depression don’t just accept this as something which is an unavoidable part of life. Physical health and strength may decline with time, but mental health can remain strong and vibrant all through a lifetime. Call us today and find out how you can be alert to and overcome the symptoms of depression.