The 411 on Baby Boomers and Depression

This is a guest post by Jordan Clement.

When we were younger, getting older seems exciting. The lure of independence is a strong one. However, getting older presents many physical, mental, and emotional challenges.

seniors facing the future

Some physical challenges may include arthritis, body pains, and accidents. Mental challenges may include Alzheimer’s or other similar diseases. Emotional challenges may include losing loved ones, spending more time alone, and retiring from a beloved profession. There’s no denying it: change is hard. That’s why depression creeps up on so many baby boomers.

Although you can’t avoid so many of the things that cause depression, you don’t need to live with this disease for the rest of your life. However, you do need to understand the causes of your depression if you want to move forward.

What’s causing my depression?

As we briefly discussed earlier, depression has many causes. It can be either a single event or a combination of problems:

  • Isolation and loneliness can be strong contributing factors to a baby boomer’s depression. You may be living alone or dealing with the death of a loved one. Losing the people you love, whether through death or through your decreased mobility, can be hard to grasp.
  • Baby boomers often experience fear about impending events, such as death, financial instability, and health problems.
  • Baby boomers can lose their sense of purpose due to decreased mobility and retirement. You may find yourself with an overwhelming amount of time on your hands.
  • Health problems that often accompany aging (diabetes, hip/knee pain, memory problems) can lead to depression because of pain, loneliness, and financial problems.

Should I seek help?

Depression is so common amongst baby boomers because they believe that these feelings are a natural part of aging. They may also be so isolated that they have no one to talk to about how they are feeling. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with feeling sad, depression often controls lives. If you feel that you might be depressed, talk to your doctor. If you have close friends or family around, consider talking to them about how you are feeling.

What are the symptoms?

Depression comes in many forms. It may have just one symptom, or it may have several. Some of the more common depression symptoms include a loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed, feelings of hopelessness, sleeping difficulties, and a loss of appetite.

Some other warning signs of depression include sadness, fatigue, weight loss/decreased appetite, neglecting personal hygiene, and increased irritability.

What can I do?

Depression is serious, but that doesn’t mean that you are powerless against it. Your doctor can prescribe a number of anti-depression medications. You can also take matters into your own hands by:

  • Getting enough sleep
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Exercising (going for a walk, golfing, joining a water aerobics class)
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Learning a new hobby or revisiting an old favorite
  • Serving those you love
  • Volunteering

As a baby boomer, you are inherently a fighter. Although depression can feel all-consuming, you can ultimately find a way out of it.

Author Bio: Jordan Clement was looking for ways to help his grandpa beat the blues after his wife died.  Jordan works for customcorntoss.com; bringing a corn toss set home from the office was one of the best things he ever did.  Now, all of Grandpa’s buddies gather every Saturday to socialize, play corn toss, and help each other get through one more day.

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