For Seniors Who Suffer From Loneliness and Depression, Help is Available
Despite popular opinion, depression and loneliness are not normal parts of aging, although many seniors experience these feelings. According to a University of Michigan study released in 2006, nearly 60 percent of more than 500 seniors age 70 and older experienced some form of loneliness.1
“It’s vitally important to keep older adults from falling into despair,” said Paul Hogan, CEO of Home Instead Senior Care. Similarly, the National Institute of Mental Health Web site asserts that, “Emotional experiences of sadness, grief, response to loss and temporary ‘blue’ moods are normal, but persistent depression that interferes significantly with one’s ability to function is not.”2
Family members who suspect that the older adults in their lives might be suffering from depression should immediately help them seek medical attention. There is now a wider-than-ever variety of medications and therapies that can significantly improve these seniors’ lives.
Help from friends and caregivers can make a difference, as well. If a senior needs additional in-home support, Home Instead Senior Care is there to help. Fully screened, trained, bonded and insured CAREGivers can provide senior care to older adults through meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands and shopping and Alzheimer’s care, but, as Hogan said, “Companionship and support to seniors and their families are among the most valuable services we provide.”
Along these lines, while the holidays – typically a festive time of year for most people – can be a particularly difficult time for older adults who are psychologically “down,” Home Instead Senior Care’s Be a Santa to a SeniorSM program can be a real boost to older adults throughout the U.S. and Canada.
In 2006 alone, 196,500 lonely older adults in need received 312,500 gifts through this extremely successful community-service program, which partners Home Instead Senior Care franchise staff with community retailers and volunteers. In fact, during its first three years, Be a Santa to a Senior has generated more than half a million presents that were delivered to more than 300,000 seniors throughout North America.
“Our home care franchise offices have seen firsthand how loneliness can affect the lives of seniors,” Hogan said. “CAREGivers and other Home Instead Senior Care staff members work during the holidays and year-round to provide the assistance and companionship that helps keep older adults healthy and happy.”
1. “Lonely in an Aging Crowd; U-M Studies Count the Way”: Online at http://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?Releases/2005/Nov05/r111805b.
2. “Older Adults: Depression and Suicide Facts”: Online at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/elderlydepsuicide.cfm.