Depression affects those of all ages. But it’s something that tends to take an especially big toll on the elderly population in the U.S.
According to the CDC, anywhere from 15 to 20% of people over the age of 65 have experienced depression. And unfortunately, there’s a good chance that number could be much higher since depression often goes undetected in many older people.
Do you want to prevent depression from ruining your golden years? You can be happier in your old age by rethinking your approach to life and the way that you do things.
Here are seven tips that will inject happiness into your life as you age.
1. Find the Best Possible Living Situation
Do you still feel comfortable living in the same home that you’ve lived in for the last 30 years? If so, you don’t have to leave it just because old age has started to set in.
You might want to consider making some slight modifications to it to make it more accessible. There are so many ways that you can make stairs, bathrooms, and other areas of your home safer so that you’re able to age in place. Home modifications such as installing ramps, stairlifts and grab bars can aid in making your home much safer.
At the same time, you also shouldn’t be afraid to admit that your home might not be the best place for you to live anymore. If you’re struggling to get around in your home or having a tough time maintaining it, consider finding a more suitable living arrangement.
There are thousands of assisted living facilities throughout the country that might be a better fit for you. They’ll allow you to start enjoying life again instead of worrying about getting around inside of your house and taking care of it.
2. Make Sure You’re Eating Enough Each Day
It’s not all that uncommon for people to start to lose their appetite as they get older.
As a result, they don’t always get all of the nutrients that their bodies need through their diets. They also start to lose a lot of weight in many cases and struggle to put that weight back on, even when they make adjustments to their diets.
If you’re not hungry as often as you used to be, make it a point to talk to your doctor about it. You could be taking a medication that is zapping your appetite or you could be dealing with another condition that’s affecting it.
Whatever the case, it’s important for you to eat a healthy diet in your old age. It’ll make you feel better day in and day out and give you the energy you need to flourish.
3. Take Medications as Prescribed by Your Doctor
Almost all older Americans take medications that get prescribed to them by their doctors. Studies have shown that:
- About 90% of older Americans take one medication
- About 80% of older Americans take two medications
- About 35% of older Americans take up to five medications
But studies have also shown that a large percentage of older Americans either forget to take their medications on a regular basis or outright refuse to take them for one reason or another.
If you’re not taking medications because you don’t like the way they make you feel, talk to your doctor about it. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of taking medications as prescribed.
These medications can often make you feel better and allow you to do more with your life.
4. Stay as Active as You Can Be
Americans as a whole don’t exercise enough. Only about 20% of people are getting the recommended amount of exercise each week.
And it appears as though this problem gets even worse with age. One study conducted a few years ago found that almost 30% of people over the age of 50 are considered “inactive.” This means that they don’t move around much at all during a normal day, much less get out and exercise.
Staying active can work wonders for your body as you age. It can increase your muscle mass, make you stronger, and improve your flexibility.
It can also make you feel happier by releasing endorphins throughout your body that will boost your mood. You’ll see a change in your happiness levels when you incorporate more exercise into your daily routine.
5. Get More Than Enough Sleep at Night
Despite what some people might think, older Americans need just as much sleep as young adults do. Doctors suggest that they should get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
But sleep is something that is hard to come by for many people over the age of 60. Many older Americans suffer from insomnia and find it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep at night.
Sleep apnea has turned into a big problem for a lot of older Americans, too. If you suspect that you might be dealing with it, get more info on how you can stop it from ruining your sleep cycle.
6. Spend as Much Time as You Can With Family and Friends
A lack of socialization is one of the main reasons why so many older Americans suffer from depression these days. Older people don’t always get the chance to spend a lot of time around family and friends—and it can start to wear on them.
If you’re not socializing with others on a consistent basis, change that as quickly as you can. By socializing more often, you can:
- Reduce stress
- Eliminate depression
- Feel less isolated
- Improve memory
You can start socializing more by joining a senior group, signing up to volunteer, or finding another activity that you enjoy doing with others. It’ll help you form bonds with people and feel less alone in your old age.
7. Talk to Your Doctor If You Can’t Shake Depression
If you’ve tried everything mentioned here and still can’t avoid feeling depressed almost all the time, mention it to your doctor. They can help you find a way to keep your depression at bay.
Whatever you do, don’t just accept depression as a part of growing older. You can find the happiness you’re searching for and start enjoying life more than ever before.
Don’t Let Old Age Stop You From Living Your Best Life
Has old age got you feeling down? Use the tips listed here to turn yourself into a happier person.
You’ll become amazed by how much better you feel when you eat right, get enough sleep, stay active, and spend time with the people who mean the most to you. It won’t be long before you’re loving life and experiencing true happiness.
Read our blog to find more tips on leading a more fulfilling life during your later years.
Senior Outlook Today is your go-to source for information, inspiration, and connection as you navigate the later years of life. Our team of experts and writers is dedicated to providing relevant and engaging content for seniors, covering topics such as health and wellness, finances, technology and travel.