Depression Fact Sheet
Depression is much more common in older people often caused by a loss; loss of health, loss of a partner, loss of mobility and therefore independence, a loss of a career can all trigger feelings of depression. Several other health conditions experienced by older people such as dementia, heart problems, cancer and low thyroid activity, Vitamin B12 deficiency can also increase the likelihood of depression, as does the after effects of a stroke.
At The Good Care Group we are committed to delivering high quality live-in care that enables elderly people to stay in the comfort and safety of their own home as long as possible. Our professional carers are all trained to an exceptionally high standard. With depression so prevalent in elderly people all our carers complete a one day training workshop on ‘Positive Thinking’ delivered by Mind Health Development to help them understand the signs and symptoms and respond positively to help improve the individual’s mood and overall wellbeing.
We hope you find this fact sheet useful if you yourself are living with depression or if you are caring for a loved one who is struggling to cope with the condition.
What is depression?
The word ‘depression’ is used to describe everyday feelings of low mood which can affect us all from time to time. Feeling sad or fed up is a normal reaction to experiences that are upsetting, stressful or difficult; those feelings usually pass. If you are affected by depression, you are not ‘just’ sad or upset. You have an illness that affects between 8-12% of the population resulting in intense feelings of persistent sadness, helplessness and hopelessness, accompanied by physical effects such as sleeplessness, a loss of energy, or physical aches and pains.
Spotting the symptoms
If you or a loved one has experienced four or more of the symptoms listed below for most of the day nearly every day for two weeks, you should seek help.
- Tiredness and loss of energy
- Persistent sadness
- Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
- Difficulty concentrating
- Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting
- Undue feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
- Sleeping problems
- Avoiding people – sometimes even your closest friends
- Loss of appetite
- Physical aches and pains
- Thinking about self-harm, suicide or death
If you are at all concerned that you or a loved one are experiencing any of the feelings above, contact your GP who will be able to help you further which may include a range of therapies and/or suitable medication.
Facts and stats
- 1 in 5 people will have depression at some point in their lives
- More than 2.9 million people in the UK are diagnosed as having depression at any one time
- As many as 3 in 4 cases of depression are neither recognised or treated – so the actual figure is much higher
- More than 70% of recorded suicide is committed by people with depression
- The World Health Organisation estimates by 2020, major depression will be second only to chronic heart disease as an international health burden
- More than 80% of people with depression can be helped with the appropriate treatment
The small things that will help
If you are living with depression or supporting an elderly parent or loved one who you believe may be living with the condition, there are some simple steps you can take that will help improve overall wellbeing.
Consumption of healthy foods – increasing fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and lean protein will increase energy levels. Take foods that combat depression such as fish oils and foods rich in Vitamin B.
It’s a walk in the park – try to exercise at least three times a week as this will boost mood and positively affects brain chemistry, while natural sunlight will also help alleviate depression.
Enjoy laughter – spend time with family and friends as laughter and social interaction with loved ones is a great way of lifting mood.
Engage in activities – why not start an enjoyable activity either at home with your spouse or friends or in your local community – being with other like-minded people will do wonders for self-esteem.
Sharing feelings – keeping negative feelings to yourself will only exacerbate depression. Talk to you family, friends or GP and ask for their support and understanding. A problem shared is a problem halved.
For a wealth of resources on depression and positive thinking visit: www.mindhealthdevelopment.co.uk , the organisation that trains our Professional Carers.
Buy ‘Think Yourself Happy’ at Amazon.
There are also many organisations that support those living with depression and provide valuable information, guidance and support.