Depression & Seniors: 5 Ways You Can Help
5 Ways You Can Help a Senior with Depression
- Even though you’re concerned for them, it’s best not to let your anxiety manifest by getting angry at them or demanding that they seek help. Trying to force a person into seeing a doctor or therapist can have the opposite effect. You’re better off taking things slowly. Try engaging in calm conversation. Find out what they might be worried about or what might have changed in their life recently. Gather information which you can then use to highlight and clarify why it might be a good idea for them to get help.
- When trying to talk to them about how they are feeling, try to avoid using words that might make them defensive. Words such as ‘depression,’ ‘struggling’ or ‘can’t cope’ can strike fear into their hearts. Barriers will most likely be raised and they’ll refuse to talk about it. You’re better off using words such as ‘sad,’ ‘blue,’ and ‘rough time.’ These words take the edge off what might be a scary subject.
- Elderly people often will not want to make a fuss, so feelings of guilt and shame can be prevalent. Try to reassure them that you are not judging them for how they feel, and that you care about them. Help them understand that it’s their choice to get help and that you will do what you can to support them.
- Supporting a depressed relative doesn’t mean that you take over and do everything for them. As much as you might want to help, doing too much can reinforce their thinking that they are now ‘useless and a burden.’ It is important to try to find a balance between helping them and having them help themselves. Together it can be useful to break down tasks into smaller activities. By doing smaller tasks, they are less likely to get tired and avoid doing what they need to. Doing less each day can mean doing more over the week.
- Seeing a psychiatrist can be scary for anyone, let alone an elderly person who tries to avoid doctors. See if you can get their permission to be a part of the appointment process. This can be useful because often the scariness of the situation, and their limited cognitive functioning due to depression, can mean an elderly relative doesn’t say what has been going on for them. They could lack the ability to retain the information the psychiatrist is telling them.
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The Meals On Wheels Association of America
The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest national organization composed of and representing local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 U.S. states, as well as the U.S. Territories. These local programs are our Members.
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Meals On Wheels Membership
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1 in 7 seniors is at risk of hunger in America today. We cannot end senior hunger alone. When we raise our voices together, and act as one, we can fortify local programs and communities against this rising threat.
Meals On Wheels Association of America is the national association for Senior Nutrition Programs. All of our benefits and initiatives exist to help equip our Members in our shared vision of ending senior hunger. Membership signifies a commitment to providing quality, accessible meals, and comfort and assurance to the senior clients and their families.
Meals On Wheels Membership provides a significant advantage within the senior nutrition field by:
- Educating and empowering individuals
- Offering exclusive grant opportunities
- Strengthening programs to ensure long term sustainability
- Leveraging our collective purchasing power
- Advocating locally and on Capitol Hill
Who Can Join?
Meals On Wheels Membership is specifically designed for employees of government agencies or 501(c)(3) nonprofit Senior Nutrition Programs (SNP's) that provide home-delivered meals or meals at congregate sites.
Older volunteers are a great asset to their communities. Seniors possess the experience, expertise and time that can greatly benefit any organisation or cause. Whether seniors help deliver a hot meal to a homebound older person, read to a primary school child or help out at their church, it is a win-win situation for all parties involved. Moreover, seniors realise meaningful improvements in their own mental and physical health. In addition to giving older people meaning and purpose to their lives, volunteering also offers specific benefits: