Depression: Understanding its path through womanhood: 70's and Beyond

Once again, we'd like to say thank you for those who attended the Speaking of Women's Health conference today.  It truly is a joy for Imagine Hope Counseling to be a part of such a great experience!  To wrap up the series on Depression, we wanted to include the information from our presentation, to provide you (and your loved ones) a resource for future reference.  In a woman's 70's and beyond, depression can often be overlooked (or seen as a "normal" part of aging by doctors, when it isn't).  Here are some common triggers for depression with this age range:

  • Being isolated and craving human interaction (loneliness)
  • Loss- of a spouse, mobility, health, life purpose (e.g., job/retirement), and friends dying
  • Body changes and the pain that comes with bodily changes and aging. 
  • Losing privileges- driving, choices about money and living arrangements, and health
  • Changing roles- now more like a child and possibly needing their children or family to be caregivers
  • Having to be dependent on others for help and to ask for help
  • Changes in environment and "home"- such as going into assisted living or a nursing home
  • Regrets in life when looking back
  • Financial stress- not saving enough for retirement and costly health-care
  • Elder abandonment and abuse
  • Questioning God- "Where are you now?"

Ways to cope:

  • Invite older friends and relatives/parents out with you, and encourage them to be active.  Expect a "no" due to insecurity regarding incontinence and/or health concerns when not at home.  Home feels safe
  • Encourage them to become involved in community groups, assisted living, or club activities that help them become involved with like-minded people (or people who are going through the same issues).
  • Medication can be a helpful alternative for depression, which is why it's so important to recognize depression in this age group.
  • Avoid guilt trips (or allowing guilt trips to consistently get the desired response) from your relatives/parents in this age group. 
  • Help them see what they CAN control
  • Encourage them to create a "Bucket List", which encourages them to continue "living" and enjoying their lives

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.