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Seniors and Depression II: 6 Treatments for Depression

The signs and symptoms of depression are emblematic to a multitude of other diseases, making it difficult to diagnose. Additionally, its victims, especially seniors, will often complain of other issues like back problems or upset stomach, delaying further a correct diagnosis.

Based on what I shared last week on the signs and symptoms of depression, I’m hoping we can all agree that diagnosing depression is not easy. Treating this disease, and it is a disease, is just as difficult. When I began my research, I found over 28 million articles on the treating of depression in seniors. It may be a bit naïve of me to synthesize all those treatments to only six, but before you judge, look them over and ask yourself if I’m on the right track. Or not. Here are my six:


  • Exercise – Writing in Psychology Today, David B. Dillard-Wright, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of South Carolina Aiken, cites numerous studies where exercise has been shown to be as effective as medication in treating depression.


  • Sleep – Citing data from a 2005 Sleep in America Poll, the National Sleep Foundation quoted statistics showing a relationship between depression and sleep deprivation. The inference is that more and better sleep could help relieve depression.


  • Don’t Isolate – Lana Barhum, a freelance medical and health writer, writing in New Life Outlook, cites studies showing that isolating one’s self from activities is not conducive to beating depression. She is quick to point out that “regardless of how you go about connecting and socializing, remember to do it in ways that you find enjoyable so that you can continue to participate and socialize.”


  • Eat Healthy – Ana Sandoiu, a freelance medical journalist, cited in Medical News Today a study by Dr. Joseph Firth, an Honorary Research fellow at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom, where he found that dietary improvements significantly reduced symptoms of depression.


  • Get some sun – Debbie Hampton, founder of The Best Brain Possible, shares studies showing that getting out in the sunshine for a short period of time can positively elevate one’s mood. Moreover, just being outside can be more positive than sitting inside alone.


  • See a professional – Self-help and common-sense remedies may not be enough. If that’s the case, then seek the guidance of a trained professional.


 Depression can hinder anyone from living an independent lifestyle. Seniors, because of age and other challenges are often the most vulnerable. It should not, however, be a death knell. This disease can be treated and people can thrive, living as independently as possible. As you can see from my list, I am a big proponent of “let’s try the simple and common-sense approaches first.”

That said, I am not naïve enough to believe that a professional is never necessary. There are times when one should be consulted, be they clergy or other professional. I am also not a big supporter of better health through better drugs. For me, it’s the last resort after all else has failed.

I know this is a touchy subject and every case is different. I am certainly not an expert in this field, you just need to know there are options, and from there determine what is best for you, your senior parent, client or friend, making sure no stone is left unturned.