Finding Help for Your Parent with Depression

Once your parent is diagnosed with depression, it is imperative to get the help that they need to overcome it. While many treatment options are available, depression treatment in older adults must take into account a number of different factors. For example, it is important that you note, and tell the doctor what medicine your parent is taking and for what reason. Many medicines that treat the symptoms of depression will often interact with other medicines, decreasing the effectiveness of both. Even some over the counter medicines, such as cold remedies can affect and be affected by medicine used to treat depression.

Another factor to consider is that some prescription medicines used to treat depression in younger adults may be less effective in older people. Thankfully, a few medicines have been shown to be more effective. For example, the drug paroxetine, otherwise known by the brand name Paxil, has been shown by some research to be more effective in treating depression in older adults than other prescription choices.

However, it is important to remember that prescription medicines are not the only way to treat depression, and in some cases they aren’t even the most effective. Regular exercise, for example has been shown to be a viable antidote for depression. Something as simple as a brisk walk three times a week may relieve the most common symptoms of depression just as effectively as an antidepressant. Plus, there are a number of added benefits to regular exercise, such as a decrease in blood pressure, a more healthy weight, and overall mental health. So in addition to talking to your parent’s doctor about medicine for their depression, consider spending a few moments going for a walk one sunny afternoon with them. Chances are you will both benefit.

Another common treatment for depression is the use of talk therapy. However, for older adults, talk therapy may be a bit problematic. Often people from older generations are unaccustomed to talking about their feelings, and may resist opening up to a stranger, no matter how qualified they may be. However, once the bridge is made, and the connection set, talk therapy can be one of the most effective ways to deal with depression. One way to approach it is to talk to your parents and explain that talking to someone who is qualified may help to alleviate some of their feelings of depression, loneliness, and self-doubt. Try and make them realize that depression isn’t something that they can fix on their own. No one can.

Treating depression in older adults often means a combination of medicine, physical activity, and counseling. In addition, the support of friends and family members is essential to the success of any treatment. If one combination doesn’t seem to work after a while, don’t be afraid to try something different. In the end, finding the right treatment for your parent’s depression will be worth the effort.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Depression in Your Parent

As an adult, it often becomes imperative to recognize how the health of your parents is changing. For older adults, one of the most common conditions suffered through is depression. If you’re concerned that your mother or father may be suffering from depression, here are a few of the warning signs that you should be looking for.

In most cases, recognizing depression in an older adult can be problematic. Most people who suffer from depression don’t automatically threaten suicide. It is usually entangled with physical ailments, and many friend and family members wrongly believe that the feelings of depression will automatically cease once the parent becomes better. In actuality, the many medicines that older adults take often have side effects that can mask depressive symptoms, making the depression harder and harder to treat. So sometimes a simple question of “are you all right” will be answered with an honest “yes”.

It is also important to realize that the symptoms of depression for an older adult is often much different than those for a younger adult. Often expressions of frustration, irritability, and prolonged sadness are indications that the depression experienced by your parent may be more problematic than first realized. For example, while depression after the death of a spouse is normal, a prolonged sense of sadness that goes well beyond what is considered normal may indicate a case of clinical depression.

The best way to gauge symptoms, especially when they can be so subjective, is to have a conversation with your parent on a regular basis. Ask them non-judgmental questions. Ask them how they are feeling, or try and see what their interest levels are like for everyday activities. Check to see if your Mom still enjoys her weekly bridge game, or if your father still likes to watch every sport report from the evening news. If you see changes in their attitude, or if they no longer enjoy activities that they previously were passionate about, it may indicate depression.

By learning how to recognize the symptoms of depression in an older adult, you can possibly help your parent in ways that neither of you realized was possible. Depression is one of the most common conditions suffered by older adults, and it can be treated once it is recognized for what it is.

Want to Live to See a Century? Twelve Signs that Say You Will

Nearly everyone at one time or another will wish for a long and happy life. If you think you might live to be a hundred, you may just be right. Here are a few reasons why the way you live can help you live to one hundred.

Reason # 1: Exercise is a Major Part of Your Life

According to scientist in California, middle aged people who ran for at least 40 minutes a day – or exercise for at least five hours a week lived longer and were more mentally active as they aged. The study focused on both runners and non-runners for approximately 21 years, and found that the runners did not just suffer from fewer cases of heart disease, but also cancer, neurological diseases, and infections.

Reason # 2: You Have a Friendly and Outgoing Nature

Everyone loves the life of the party. Did you know, however that if spend your time being friendly and smiling, you are about 50% less likely to develop dementia? According to a study of more than 500 men and women over 78 years old conducted by the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. It was found that the participants also maintained a relatively low stress levels, and lower levels of cortisol can enhance the brain’s ability to communicate effectively. Thankfully, the reduction of cortisol, or the stress hormone is relatively easy. Take some time to meditate, sip a cup of black tea, or even take a short nap.

Reason # 3: A High Fiber Diet

If you want to decrease you chance of developing heart disease, consider eating more fiber. According to a study conducted in Netherlands, an increase in dietary fiber was shown to reduce the total cholesterol, as well as LDL, otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, and even help with weight loss. And adding more fiber in your diet is fairly easy. For example did you know that a cup of raspberries has nearly 8 grams of fiber? It can be easy and tasty to increase your fiber intake to about 20 grams per day.

Reason # 4: You are Technically Savvy

It seems that every time you turn around, there is a new technological trend. If you quickly get the gist of these devices and programs, it can be another sign that you’re likely to live for a century or more. Using programs such as Twitter or Skype has been shown to help keep your brain cells young and healthy, which in turn can help make your life longer. By sending a few emails, searching for information on the internet, and even dating online, a person can keep the quality and quantity of their life in high order.

Reason # 5: You’re a Kid at Heart

According to a survey conducted of more than 500 men and women aged 70 years or older, simply feeling young can lead to a healthier and longer life. Feeling, and acting young at heart can improve your outlook in life, motivate you to overcome challenges, and even boost the effectiveness of your immune system.

Reason # 6: You Started Menopause after 52

For the women in the world, experiencing the “change of life” at a later time can often mean an increase in their lifespan. According to Jane Minkin, M.D. of Yale University School of Medicine, the risk of heart disease is also much lower.

Reason # 7: You were Blessed with Children Later in Life

If you got pregnant naturally later in life, a study from the University of Utah indicates that you are less likely to die during any year after the age of fifty than your friends who had children in their mid-twenties. Having the ability to naturally get pregnant later in life may indicate that you have the genetic markers that can contribute to a long and healthy life.

Reason # 8: You Get the Most Out of Every Calorie

According to researchers in St. Louis, people that limited their daily calorie intake to 1,400 to 2,000 calories per day had hearts that functioned like those who were fifteen years younger. And it wasn’t about simply eating less. It was more about getting the most from what you eat. By increasing the nutritional value of each calorie, the body gets more of what it is needing, and craving. Foods such as vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and fat-free milk all can contribute to an improvement in your health.

Reason # 9: You Don’t Snore

Believe it or not, your wife’s or husband’s insistence that you stop snoring can help you live longer. Snoring is a major sign of obstructive sleep apnea, a common disorder that causes you to stop breathing because the tissue of your throat collapses and blocks your airway. This may happen multiple times a night for some people. It’s like suffocating for a brief moment several times a night. An 18 year study found that people who did not suffer from sleep apnea were three times more likely to live longer.

Reason # 10: A Slower Pulse Means a Longer Life

For most healthy people, a resting pulse rate of sixty beats per minute is common. People who ultimately live to one hundred often experience that resting rate more often than those who do not. A slower pulse rate means that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard, and can therefore last more years than normal.

Reason # 11: You have a relatively flat belly after Menopause

Generally speaking, if you are a woman with a little bit more around the middle than you would like, you are also more likely to die sooner. At midlife, you have to put more effort into keeping your waist trim because hormones cause more extra weight to settle in the middle. Thankfully with consistent effort, a smaller flatter tummy is possible. Just add one or two 20-minute strength training routines into your regular exercise routine, increase your intake of anti-oxidants, and get a quarter of your daily calories from healthy fats.

Reason # 12: You have the Right Amounts of Vitamin D

If you want protection from disease, consider having your blood tested for its vitamin D content. In general, we need at least 30 nanograms of Vitamin D per millimeter of blood. Most Americans have much less. Vitamin D not only helps bones fend off osteoporosis, but has also been shown to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and infection. A simple blood test can indicate if your levels of vitamin D in your blood is at the optimal level. But be warned; monitoring may be necessary since higher levels of vitamin D (above 100 nanograms) may be toxic.

These are just a few of the indications that you may live a long and healthy life. Plus, if you’re interested in increasing your chances, a conversation with your doctor, and better, more nutritional choices may just be the ticket.

Inexperienced Parents May Be More Prone to Depression According to a UK Study

For the first twelve years of a child’s life, the whirlwind routine of a parent can be frustrating, chaotic and ultimately extremely rewarding. For new parents the changes that their life undergoes during this time can be especially hard. It is understandable that young parents may be prone to the common condition of depression.

In a study conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom, data from over 86,000 families visiting primary care clinics between the years of 1993 and 2007 were studied. The goal of this study was to identify parents who showed signs of depression. It was found that over one-third of the mothers and approximately one-fifth of the fathers had at least one episode of depression between the birth of their child and 12 years of age.

Generally speaking, 7.53% of the mothers and 2.69% of the fathers suffered from depression per year. However, the rates for the first years were significantly higher, approximately 13.93% for the mothers, and 3.56% for the fathers.

This increase in percentage of depression is most likely explained by the increase in potential stress that comes with the birth of a baby and raising a young child. Changes in a parent’s sleep pattern, the significant changes in responsibility, and the added stress to the relationship all can contribute to an increase in depression.

Parents who have a history of depression, those who were below the age of 24 when their child was born, as well as those who were of a lower socio-economic standing were more likely to develop depression symptoms after the birth of their child, according to the study published in early September in the journal of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

There are a number of causes for depression, both socio-economic and biological in nature. The findings indicate for young parents their socio-economic and the stresses of poverty, unemployment, and a lower support system of young parents can significantly contribute to their levels of depression. In addition, younger parents are most likely less prepared for parenthood than those who are more experienced.