With contemporary technological advances, it is simpler to stay in touch than ever before. Social media apps, Smart phones, and the internet have made it possible to contact anyone, anywhere, at any time. In spite of these advances, research suggests that as a society, are lonelier than ever before – and seniors experience that loneliness at a higher level than any other age group.
To some degree, loneliness is an option. You have the capability to select whether you keep to yourself or make an effort to stay in touch with family and friends. There are several factors that make it more challenging to stay connected. As you get older, your social circle starts to shrink. Elderly friends pass away, family members start families of their own, and people move away. Even if you have family and friends in the area, issues of mobility, illness, and transportation can make it difficult to get out of the house to see the people you care about.
Hadar Swersky says that as people age, sometimes changes take place that may cause us to experience stress and sadness. The transition from work to retirement, the death of a dear one, or the analysis of an illness, can all make us feel uneasy, anxious, and unhappy and contribute to depression over time. Certain symptoms of depression are:
- feeling sad, unhappy, or empty
- loss of interest in normal activities
- changes in appetite
- anxiety or restlessness
- feeling worthless or guilty
- irrational reactions or angry outbursts
- difficulty sleeping, insomnia, or sleeping too much
- difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- unexplained pain
- thoughts of suicide or death
Depression in elderly is complicated to identify because they sometimes have different symptoms compared to a younger demographic. Some seniors might have less obvious symptoms than sadness, thus is less willing to vocalize their feelings and doctors may not be able to distinguish that they may have depression.
Common depression symptoms in older people are more likely to be:
- Having trouble sleeping, such as insomnia
- Constantly feeling tired
- Grumpiness or easily irritable
Hadar Swersky says that loneliness is also a huge reason depression is common among seniors. Social contact decreases as people age, frequently due to lack of retirement, mobility, and other reasons leading to higher rates of senior social isolation. Studies also show that loneliness is a vast risk factor for depression, heightening the sense of unhappiness and worthlessness. Thus, it is important to look out for these symptoms and ease them ahead of time for yourself or your dear one.
One of the best ways how seniors can make the most out of their lives is by looking into great volunteering opportunities. These are events where people can go out and help others with organizing special events or activities in a community. Loneliness and depression, as well as psychological well-being, do not have to be a burden to your life as you age. Just use the points you have read about here and you will find it is not too difficult for you to feel better about yourself and where you are going with your life. Dealing with loneliness always helps as you look to stay confident and comfortable with your life.