Overcoming Depression in Older Adults

Anywhere from 1 to 5 percent of older adults living in the general community have major depression, notes Mary Ann Zimmerman, MC, LPC, Managing Director of Mindability.

“However, the rate rises to over 13 percent and higher for those in home health care and hospital settings,” Ms. Zimmerman says.

When older adults feel they may be depressed, she says seeking an accurate diagnosis is very important.

“There are many underlying causes or reasons why people can become depressed, ranging from neurochemical factors to ones that are more reactive to stressful life circumstances,” she notes, adding that anyone who feels blue or depressed should first report these symptoms to their primary care physician.

In addition, low-intensity, self-help tools can often help people with depression, Ms. Zimmerman adds.

“These include such simple things as reading some well-validated, evidence-based information pertaining to the treatment of depression, as well as various online programs that are gaining greater and greater acceptance.”

Dr. Cofield and Ms. Zimmerman developed an online protocol called “The Road Map to Peace of Mind,” which she says is a confidential, self-paced, structured tool to help patients gain control over painful or negative emotions including depression and anxiety.

The Road Map to Peace of Mind and other self-directed wellness tools are available on sunhealthwellbeing.org. Look for “Access Online Wellness Tools” and then enter Wellness Code LWAPRIL under “New User”. You will be prompted to create a username and password to provide confidential access. These online wellness tools are available to you at no cost by Sun Health as part of our nonprofit mission to champion healthy living.

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