"My best friend recently experienced the loss of her spouse. Since this event, I have noticed her going through feelings of being 'down in the dumps'. I thought by now she would have improved, but I am worried about her. Could she be experiencing depression? Is this normal or is it related to growing older?""
According to the dictionary, depression a psychoneurotic or psychotic disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies. Depression is not a normal part of growing older, it is an illness that can be treated and prevented.
Everyone has been "down in the dumps" at one time or another. Although not always easy to deal with, sadness and grief are a normal part of life. When these "blue" feelings overpower your lifestyle, that may in fact be categorized as depression. Growing older can sometimes present many challenges, both physically, emotionally, and socially. These challenges can be faced with support from family, friends, and community resources such as St. Andrew's At Home Services to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Unfortunately, some older adults experiencing depression do not say anything about the way they are feeling. If you suspect that you or someone you know may be depressed, it is most important to take the first step by talking to your doctor. Together, you can work together to get back to feeling like yourself again.
St. Andrew's At-Home Services helps to serve the needs of older adults and their families in the comfort of their home, including housekeeping, transportation, meal preparation, personal care, nursing services and companionship. For more information, please call (314) 726-5766. St. Andrew's At-Home Services is a not-for profit division of St. Andrew's Resources for Seniors, an Episcopal-Presbyterian organization serving older adults and their families since 1961.