Any one of us can experience an episode of anxiety or depression; be it short-lived or long-term. No matter what our age, gender, or background, we can all be susceptible to deteriorating mental wellbeing. It has been suggested that one in four adults have been affected by their mental health. However, as we age, depression can become more commonplace. The longer we live, the more difficulties we may have to face; ill health, bereavement, loss of independence and mobility, loss of income – these situations can all add to our list of worries. But we must not consider mental illness par for the course as we become elderly or infirm. We at Cherish Care don’t think mental health is an issue that should be swept under the carpet. It’s an issue that needs to be explored, as there are ways in which we can alleviate or even prevent depression.
We’ve spoken many times on this blog about keeping active. Maintaining and improving our mobility has so many more benefits than just ‘keeping fit’. Exercise, as well as having known benefits like improving our strength and fighting the risk of diseases like cancer, also releases endorphins – good chemicals in the brain, which can fight off depression. Brain health and function can also be improved, leading to less likelihood of developing conditions like dementia. Just simple activities like gardening or walking, or light exercise (like tai chi) can have far-reaching and positive effects. Of course, keeping healthy must always include a good and nutritious diet – this is just as important for our mental wellbeing.
Being lonely and socially isolated can most certainly increase the likelihood of developing anxiety or depression. Try to reconnect with family or old friends. Say ‘hello’ to your neighbours and perhaps try to establish friendships with them. If you have a Personal Carer, you can consider them as a friend – they will have come to know you very well. If your health is fairly good, join a club or start an activity that involves group interaction – this also increases your sense of purpose because you will then have a routine. There is nothing like social interaction to stave off anxiety or depression.
‘’My carers have become like real family friends: they cheer me up, laugh, do all the little things I cannot do, start my day with a smile, raise my spirits. They are a great source of joy.” Cherish Care
If you feel that you are being overwhelmed by anxiety or depression, you must speak up. Talk to friends or family and let them know how you are feeling. Visit your GP; they will be able to put you in touch with organisations that can help you – click on some of the links below to seek further advice. You are not alone.
Anxiety and depression is something we can all be blighted with during our lives, but it mustn’t be seen as a part of ageing. It’s an illness, just like any other, and with the right help and support, it can be treated.