older loved one with depression

Helping an Older Loved One with Depression

older loved one with depressionA loved one that is depressed can make you depressed. It can make you feel as though you’ve failed in some way, or it might make you feel as though your loved one isn’t taking care of himself. Before feeling badly about your loved one’s depression, try to put yourself in his or her shoes.

Why Older Loved Ones Become Depressed

Many older loved ones are mourning the loss of their spouse and close friends. They are seeing people all around them pass away from old age. Not only do they feel sad about losing people that have been a part of their life for many years, but they are also feeling vulnerable. They may be thinking that those people could have easily been them, and that can be frightening.

For many older loved ones, survivor guilt occurs. This is when people believe they should have died instead of their loved one or someone who was in the same situation. This feeling can bring people down so low because they wish that their loved ones’ lives could have been spared. This also leads to feeling as though they don’t deserve to live a good life when those people had to end theirs.

Losing loved ones makes people feel as though they have no one to live for anymore. They don’t feel as though they have anyone to celebrate life with and enjoy it. They feel lonely. This is why they don’t make any attempts to integrate themselves back into society. They simply want to stay at home by themselves.

What You Can Do for an Older Loved with Depression

Pushing your loved one out into the world will not help. This will frustrate and anger him. You don’t want to make this situation any worse than it is for him.

What you may want to try is just being there. Calling for no reason but to talk works well. Visiting to just sit and talk is another good thing to do. Just being there to see what he needs will start to help your loved one feel better.

What if your loved one won’t talk? Presence can be just as helpful as talking. Watching television together, or reading the paper every Sunday morning can make the difference that will strike up conversation or just lead to him feeling better.

As much as you believe you know what’s best for your loved one, the only person who knows what’s best is your loved one. Instead of pushing and suggesting, just be there. Be the friend that he so desperately needs right now.

Need help?

Life can get busy and many people don’t have the time to tend to their older loved one’s needs. This is why personal consulting is available. Contact me now to discuss how I can help your older loved one. I’ve been able to help many people feel better about their situation and life. It’s what I love to do, and will continue to do to help people like your loved one.

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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