Coping with difficult changes in life

Therapy with Seniors uses the same principles as that with younger people, namely, the attempt to put one’s years of experience into perspective, allowing people to tell their story the way they want to tell it.  People need a safe person and place to talk about their issues, whether it is painful, sad, or humorous.  People, no matter what age, want to understand themselves better, feel feelings, and have good relationships with their family and friends.  Being “down in the dumps” over a period of time is not a normal part of growing old, but it is a common problem.  Therapy can help ease the pain of depression.  You do not need to suffer.

Our psychologists work with Seniors in helping them with the difficult changes in life, such as the death of a spouse, medical problems that can lead to depression, assistance with marital issues for those with a spouse, help dealing with their adult children and families, and anxiety.  We can be helpful in working through stressful life changes, healing from losses, processing difficult emotions, and developing better coping skills.  Most of the patients we’ve worked with have developed better relationships with family, made new friends, and feel better about themselves overall, even when the work together has been quite difficult.  Their depression has decreased and they feel more of a sense of satisfaction.

Assessment

Never assume that a loss of mental sharpness is just a normal sign of aging.  It could be a sign of depression or dementia. Everyone gets the blues now and then; it is a part of life.  But if you feel little joy or pleasure after visiting with friends or seeing a good movie, you may have a more serious problem.  Being depressed for a while, without letup, can change the way a person thinks or feels.  There are many reasons why depression in Seniors is often missed or untreated.  Sometimes it can be seen as crankiness or grumpiness.  Depression can be tricky to recognize.  Confusion or attention problems caused by depression can sometimes look like Alzheimer’s disease or other brain disorders, such as dementia.  Mood changes and signs of depression can be caused by medicines for arthritis, high blood pressure, or heart disease.  The good news is that people who are depressed often feel better with the right treatment.

We offer a Senior Depression Screening to assist with sorting out what is going on, as well as specific recommendations for treatment.

We also offer a Memory Evaluation to assist in the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that affect thinking.

Treatment options for the elderly

Depression treatment is just as effective for elderly adults as it is for younger people. Studies have found that therapy works just as well as medication in relieving mild to moderate depression. And unlike antidepressants, therapy also addresses the underlying causes of the depression.

  • Supportive counseling includes religious and peer counseling. It can help ease loneliness and the hopelessness of depression.
  • Psychotherapy helps people work through stressful life changes, heal from losses, and process difficult emotions.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people change negative thinking patterns, deal with problems in healthy ways, and develop better coping skills.
  • Support groups for depression, illness, or bereavement connect people with others who are going through the same challenges. They are a safe place to share experiences, advice and encouragement.

Related reading on this topic:

Doctors within our practice who focus on Seniors, Assessment & Treatment

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St Charles | 405 Illinois Avenue, Ste. 2C

Oak Brook | 1200 Harger Road, Ste. 220

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