by Karen Weeks, Guest Blogger
Depression affects millions of Americans each year, leading to other issues that can take a toll on physical health, job performance, and the ability to take care of oneself. For seniors who are suffering from depression, these issues can become major problems that manifest in different ways. There are many different contributors to depression in older adults, from loneliness to the loss of a loved one, which means there are just as many approaches to healing.
Practicing self-care is a great way to start; you can reduce stress, change your diet and exercise routine, stay social, and take a timeout when you begin to feel anxious or sad. Your physical environment plays a role in how you feel, as well, which means that decluttering and getting organized can help significantly. Of course, different therapies are crucial to battling depression and keeping it at bay for good. That’s why it’s important to make sure you have the right health coverage so that you can get the treatment you need.
Here are a few things to think about when it comes to fighting depression as a senior.
Review Your Medical Plan
Medicare is a wonderful benefit for older adults, but it doesn’t cover everything under the original plan. With a Medicare Advantage plan, however, you can find the mental health treatment you need without having to pay out-of-pocket, and you’ll even have access to medications that won’t break the bank. When it’s time to review your medical plan, look at the resources offered by Aetna to see how to make a switch that will help you in the coming year.
Find the Right Care Provider
While your family doctor may be of some help when it comes to your mental health, it’s generally best to see a counselor or therapist who can focus specifically on your needs when you’re suffering from depression. You can ask your current doctor for a referral or do some research online to find a therapist in your area who has experience with what you’re going through. Also, don’t be afraid to call and ask any questions you might have or to set up an appointment to talk and figure out if they are the right professional for you.
Change Your Diet and Exercise Routine
A major part of self-care is ensuring that your diet and workout routine are benefiting you as much as possible. As we get older, it becomes extremely important to work certain vitamins and nutrients into our daily intake in order to keep our bones and joints healthy, and these can also help fight depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Talk to your doctor about the right exercises for you, especially if you have an existing health condition or limited mobility. Your diet can vary depending on your specific needs, but many seniors find that lean meats, veggies, and whole grains are the best way to go for energy and mood regulation.
Keeping an active social life can help you in many ways, from preventing loneliness and isolation to allowing you to form new bonds, all of which will keep you in good shape where your mental health is concerned. Make it a point to talk to your friends and family as often as you can; if you live far away from your loved ones, look for a free app for your smartphone or tablet that will allow you to stay in touch via video chat.
Self-care can encompass many things, and it’s important to try a few different methods to find the one that works best. Doing research on the details of your Medicare plan will allow you to make the most informed decision when it comes to getting good care. Also, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
*Karen Weeks is a guest blogger and is not affiliated with iCare Health Network or its managed skilled nursing facilities. The author is solely responsible for the content in this article.