Celebrities are open about their mental health issues. Maybe that would make discussing the issue less stigmatizing. You don’t have to think of someone as “crazy” because our society needs mental health help by publicizing this struggle through celebrities and celebrities.
For the elderly, the epidemic is certainly worse than ever before. Many elders were already struggling with isolation when Covid forced them into lockdown. From my own observations on AgingParents.com, I still see a recurring theme: Aging parents don’t connect with others, don’t go out much, and resist socializing. They do not accept treatment. Adult children tell me that an aging parent who is clearly traumatized says, “I’m not cut out for failure. I don’t believe in psychology or any of that stuff. Don’t accept offers of help.
The impact of social isolation on the elderly
It is well understood in geriatrics that social isolation is detrimental to the mental and physical health of our seniors. Age-related loss of mobility, hearing and vision combined with the decision to avoid exposure to a virus that has killed a million Americans is even worse when alone.
With the epidemic, “isolation” became an everyday word, social distancing, staying at home, avoiding close contact with others, etc. Depressed seniors are depressed. Lonely people feel the pain more acutely than ever. The media has emphasized how these epidemics of school closures have affected our children. Media reports emphasize how devastating these effects are on people coping with loss and loneliness.
Normal losses associated with aging
With old age, people lose spouses and friends. They may lose their ability to be independent in their daily lives. They may have to give up driving. Experiencing loss and saving those with us is built into aging. Then, on top of that, some have been cut off from social contact for several months. Many seniors felt worse than ever, unable to go out to eat, or meet up with friends for activities or even meet face-to-face with family.
The result is that many people do not have a specific plan for how to recover from the isolation they experience. They are worried. Drugs have been suggested and some have found this helpful, but it doesn’t fix the main issue: how to connect and connect with others and avoid constant sadness. What can elders do about it?
Our aging parents had a stigma about mental health. to be continued. The words of a single, 72-year-old client desperately trying to help a dear friend in a nursing home are common, I think. He was sad, angry, and never seemed to get over it. I asked him what he would do about the pain in his heart. He said the words “pain in my heart” are a good way to describe it. I know the classic Symptoms of depression The speech explains. Advising may be beneficial to him. I suggested he consider therapy. His response was, “I’ve never had counseling in my life and I don’t want to now.” He remains stuck in his own misery.
No one can force another person to get mental health help. We can suggest it. We can provide research to find appropriate service providers in the person’s area. We can ask which providers offer telemedicine visits. We can point to a celebrity, athlete or politician who has gone public with their mental health along with their efforts to seek treatment. We can continue to promote therapy both in person and through telemedicine. But we can’t make anyone see a therapist. Their own willingness to look inward and find a way out of depression or anxiety or a dark hole or whatever is essential to success. Some stubbornly refuse to look inward. It is very dangerous.
About depression and good news
Mental health issues such as depression are particularly common among older adults who experience these losses and social isolation. The good news is that it is treatable. The success rates for relieving the symptoms are high. But it takes more than medication to properly treat depression. People should talk to a professional. They can have support by voicing all the feelings that have taken them to that dark place. A skilled therapist helps the client develop ways to deal with his emotions and take action when he begins to control them. It’s a learning experience. Treatment for depression can help most people who need it. According to the National Network of Depression Centers. 80% of those who sought treatment showed improvement in their symptoms After four to six weeks of treatment. Yes, there are exceptions and sometimes in more severe cases multiple treatments are indicated. But most people who receive treatment can find relief and regain the ability to enjoy things in their lives.
What can you do with an aging parent with depression?
- You can respectfully mention one of the famous people your parent knows who has publicly disclosed their struggles with mental health and sought treatment. If it’s okay for them, you can say it’s okay for you, Mom/Dad/Grandma.
- For seniors, finding a licensed psychologist to treat depression can be challenging, even if they are willing. Medicare (and most other major insurers) do not properly pay experienced mental health providers. Therefore, a large number of qualified therapists do not receive Medicare reimbursement. You can help by conducting a supplier search.. Finding one can be a long process. persevere
- Encourage your elderly parent to talk about what is going on with them now. Listen, and don’t judge or give advice, or tell them they’re being overlooked. Giving your loved one space to talk about any feelings is a gift you can give them. You don’t have to be good at anything other than being respectful and keeping your mouth shut.
- Offer to go with them to their first medical visit If they are willing to go and you are available. You will not be in the session with them. But for a person who is afraid of the idea, the presence of a loved one can only help for emotional support and company along the way. Telemedicine is less intimidating and may be a better option if your loved one accepts it. However, an in-person visit can be more in-depth and more effective.
For us at AgingParents.com, my team, the RN-Attorney, and Dr. Davis, Geriatric Psychologist, mental health and elder issues are part of our professional lives. I feel frustrated and sad when I know that an elder is suffering and is not seeking the help they need to resolve the problem. If this runs in your family, do your best to convince the aging person to seek professional help. It can change lives.