Aging can be difficult. Both our minds and bodies are no longer as spry as they used to be. Our fresh and youthful looks give way to sagging skin and a weather-beaten appearance. Also, the longer we last, the more likely it is that we will outlive friends and loved ones. It is quite easy to feel lonely as we get on in years, particularly if our physical conditions reach the point where mobility becomes a challenge. Those of us who lived independently for decades often find it tough to accept that they will now need the help of others to accomplish basic tasks.
Even if life manages to go fairly easy on us in these regards, we can also live through the decline and loss of a beloved partner or best friend. This can be especially tough if the healthier person assumes caregiver duties.
Seniors in long-term care facilities can also find it very difficult, particularly if they are among the younger people there. Cognitive decline, understaffing, poor food, varying degrees of care and attention, and lack of interesting interaction and activities can also bring about depression, even in someone who entered in good spirits and health.
Fortunately, there are good options for anyone in this situation. First, they should visit their regular doctor for a check-up and recommendations. The GP can then refer them to a therapist who specializes in working with seniors and their challenges. Talk therapy can be an excellent way to work through problems and formulate solutions.
Group therapy also brings about good results for many people. The chance to meet with other people going through the same struggles can be very helpful and even lead to lasting friendships.
If need be, psychiatry is another option. Psychiatrists use methods similar to therapists, but can also prescribe anti-depressant medication to supplement therapy sessions.
Everyone ages, though the effects of aging differ from person to person. No matter how diligent we are, our bodies and mental faculties gradually decline and things that were once easy become progressively more difficult.
How well a person accepts these changes can also vary. People who were fiercely independent for most of their lives often have trouble coping with the fact that they need assistance later in life. They may also find it tough to accept that they cannot do the sorts of physically challenging things that were once easy for them.
Psychological difficulties at this point in life can also arise from other factors that one normally encounters in life. Losing a partner, friends, or children can easily cause someone with no previous mental health concerns to develop depression and/or anxiety problems.
Psychologists working with this population employ a number of strategies that have proven effective. These include CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), talk therapy, anti-depressants, behavior modification, disease management strategies, and health promotion through regular exercise and proper diet.
Things can be especially difficult for adults living in long term care facilities. They often feel isolated, sad, and unable to relate to those who also live there. It is important for relatives and friends to visit them whenever possible and keep close tabs on their condition. If anything seems wrong, they should immediately report it to the head nurse or facility director, and then follow-up to make sure that corrective action has been taken.
While psychological difficulties may be more common for people in their golden years, they do not always have to be debilitating. It is up to people who work with this population to accurately diagnose when issues are present and then take proper steps to rectify the problem(s). That will help to ensure that people can live out their remaining days with a degree of dignity and happiness.