Many people struggled with their mental health during the pandemic. Lockdowns, isolation, and uncertainty about the future left a number of people struggling with depression. Seniors in Brooklyn were no exception to this problem, and they faced some unique issues that made their situation even more difficult than most. However, the mental health in seniors post pandemic may surprise many.
Research shows that seniors have shown remarkable resilience when they grappled with pandemic-related losses. And now that life is moving back in the direction of normal, they seem to be demonstrating an impressive ability to recover. That strength is something we can all learn from.
Depression in the elderly
Seniors are at higher risk of many health problems, and depression is no exception. Although people from every walk of life can experience depression at any age, older people face unique risk factors that make them extra vulnerable.
As people age, they’re more likely to deal with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and heart disease. These health problems can cause changes in people’s mobility and physical strength, leaving them more dependent on help from others. These adjustments are a significant source of stress, which can develop into depression.
For people with conditions that affect the brain, the changes they see in themselves and the future they’re facing can also contribute to depression. It can also be a symptom of the brain changes they’re experiencing.
Another issue that may tip elderly people into depression is the fear of things like dying, health problems, and financial hardships. On top of that, they also tend to experience more bereavements, as their peers and spouses age. Many seniors also struggle with a loss of identity and a sense of purpose as they adjust to a life that is no longer centered around work.
One key factor in many seniors’ risk for depression is a sense of loneliness and isolation. During the lockdowns of the pandemic, this was a serious problem.
When the pandemic hit, it quickly became clear that the elderly population may have been at the greatest risk from the virus. In an attempt to protect our loved ones, nursing homes and care centers established strict protocols to isolate residents and try to prevent their exposure. Even seniors who lived in their own homes experienced a drastic drop in their social lives, as outside activities shut down and visits from loved ones stopped.
According to CTV News, this change in their lives was especially hard on seniors. After only 20 days in isolation, many of them already experienced depression. Researchers believe that the major contributor to this problem was their feelings of grief about missing time with the people they love. Especially as they face their own mortality, this loss is difficult to accept.
However, the elderly population also showed impressive signs of strength. Although they experienced extra stressors compared to other groups, the article reported that according to the original study, they also appeared to be better at coping with them. Everyone struggled during pandemic lockdowns, but seniors post pandemic appeared to maintain their perspective better than most.
For example, twice as many older people live alone, but younger people as a population felt two times as lonely. On top of that, younger people experienced more impact on their mental health from the worry of contracting Covid. This difference is true despite the fact that infection is clearly more dangerous for older people.
Researchers believe that seniors have a wealth of life experiences that help them keep things in perspective during difficult events. Having weathered hard times in the past, they are more likely to have coping mechanisms. They also understand that things will get better with time.
Some experts are concerned that seniors post pandemic may have difficulty resuming normal activities now, and may need extra encouragement. After spending so much time being cautious about being around people, they may be hesitant to reach out. But just like the rest of us, those connections are good for their mood and overall health. With their demonstrated ability to bounce back, many seniors just need support to return to the things they love.
Seniors may have been uniquely vulnerable to depression during the pandemic, but they also showed unique strengths as they weathered those difficult times. As many people return to “normal” life, it’s a good idea to keep seniors’ experiences in mind. Some of them may still need extra support and medical treatment if they’re still struggling with depression.
However, it’s also true that many of them could teach the rest of us an important lesson about bouncing back from hardship.
David York Agency Home Healthcare Can Help Seniors in Brooklyn
At the David York Home Healthcare Agency, our caregivers understand the importance of helping your loved one maintain the connections and activities that bring them joy. For information about how we can help support seniors to live their best lives, contact us today!
DYA understands the many challenges and risks faced by the aging and elderly and are dedicated to providing care to support them through all of those ups and down. At David York Home Healthcare Agency, extraordinary service is what sets us apart from other companies in Brooklyn that provide in home healthcare services.
DYA we could provide direction as to how to manage the total care of your senior loved one. Whatever your care needs, we are there for you, always striving to exceed your expectations. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (718) 376-7755. A free phone consultation can help you determine what services would meet your needs. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter or LinkedIn.