The older you get, the harder it can be to work through depression, say a number of elder experts. Seniors often face a unique set of emotional stressors: difficulty adjusting to retirement, loss of a spouse and diminished health. Plus, many elderly are homebound and cannot get out and socialize easily with others. The lack of regular social interaction in itself can lead to chronic depression.
When doctors prescribe anti-depressants like Prozac or Cymbalta, seniors often balk at the idea because they prefer non-medication approaches. On restricted incomes, many elderly simply can’t afford another prescription or psychotherapy. But medical and social researchers are investigating a new form of depression assistance for older adults – personal counseling via computer screen.
A six-week study using Skype and other videoconferencing technology provided tele-sessions between a psychotherapist and each senior participant. When the study concluded, 94 percent of the older adults gave high marks to the tele-therapy.
With the lack of geriatric mental health providers across the country, the online therapy may be a viable resource for the elderly who can’t shake their persistent blues. In addition, family caregivers and professional home care providers can look for signs of depression in older adults including:
Feeling sad or hopeless.
Withdrawal from family and friends.
Decreased interest in activities and hobbies.
Appetite and weight changes.
If a senior loved one shows symptoms of depression, be sure to consult with your elder’s doctor. To help with despondency, Right at Home adult home care can help lift your senior’s mental well-being through companionship visits and transportation to a counselor or social activities. And, as online talk therapy increases in practicality, Right at Home caregivers can help your senior connect to the computer-to-computer sessions.
If you were depressed, would you use Skype to combat your emotional low if given the opportunity?