Most antidepressants come with lengthy lists of side effects. For seniors, the addition of these drugs to existing dosing schedules may not be the best way to manage depression. Fortunately, there are a number of safe and natural therapies for alleviating depression aging adults can rely on instead. Scottsdale senior home care experts offer the following suggestions.
Evaluate Lifestyle Choices
Before implementing any aggressive plan to alleviate chronic senior depression through the use of herbs or other alternative therapies, it is important to carefully assess lifestyles and life qualities. Seniors who are living in isolation or who lack regular opportunities for social engagement and routine exercise may benefit best from a series of strategic lifestyle changes. Increased exercise, regular outings and improved nutrition could be sufficient for keeping depression at bay.
Address Nutritional Deficiencies
Providing seniors with access to home-cooked meals may not be sufficient for ensuring adequate nutritional support. Although seniors require fewer calories, there are certain nutrients seniors actually need more of. This is especially true now given that modern practices in food production are decreasing the availability of essential minerals in natural food sources. Shortages of minerals like magnesium can lead to chronic depression and anxiety that will only continue to spiral until deficiencies are both identified and addressed. Adding more seeds and nuts to the diet along with black beans, soybeans, navy beans and dark, leafy vegetables could also prove helpful.
Subluxations are areas of the spine that are poorly aligned. Vertebrae can be displaced by slip and fall accidents, car accidents, poor posture and insufficient core muscle strength. With poor alignment, the nerves and the brain have a much harder time communicating with one another, which can in turn lead to chemical imbalances and mental health issues like depression. Chiropractors and physical therapists can resolve spinal subluxations through manual adjustments, massage and other forms of therapy.
Try Light Therapy
Much like mineral deficiencies, Vitamin D deficiencies are also common among seniors. Excess exposure to sunlight and heat can result in a range of health issues for seniors including sunburn, heat stroke and skin damage. Too little sunlight, however, can lead to Vitamin D deficiency and depression particularly in those who live in isolation or in areas that get limited sunlight for extended periods throughout they year. Light therapies allow seniors to take advantage of the restorative qualities of light in a controlled environment. Red light therapy has also proven to be particularly effective for boosting immune system functioning, offsetting many of the common signs of aging and lowering depression.
Walking is a great way to alleviate depression. This low impact exercise involves coordinated, opposite arm and leg movements that can actually alter brain wave patterns. After just thirty minutes of walking, many people will additionally benefit from increased dopamine and serotonin production. These are commonly referred to as “feel good” chemicals given they boost moods and keep problems like anxiety and depression at bay.
Consider Supplements and Oils
There are also a number of supplements and oils that have proven very effective for alleviating senior depression. Although fish oil is commonly valued for its anti-inflammatory properties, it also boasts a number of mood boosting benefits. This can be taken orally and used in conjunction with aromatherapy. Lavender oil is a mood-boosting fragrance that promotes relaxation and relieves depression when used as part of a structured aromatherapy plan.
Learn more about senior health and emotional wellbeing by reaching out to Home Care Assistance. One of our trusted caregivers in Scottsdale can prepare healthy meals, encourage physical activity, provide transportation to social outings, play mental stimulating games, and promote overall wellbeing. Give an experienced Care Manager a call at 480.448.6215 and let us help you and your senior loved one.