Many seniors are suffering from “depression in old age,” which is more frightening than dementia. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Many seniors are suffering from “depression in old age,” which is more frightening than dementia.

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Senior citizens are prone to depression at the drop of a hat.

Recently, the prevalence of “geriatric depression” (senile depression) has been increasing rapidly. According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the prevalence of depression among people aged 65 and over is 13.5%. As Japan’s population ages and the percentage of seniors increases, the problem of depression in old age is becoming more and more familiar (and more apparent) in Japan.

Dr. Takashi Hosaka, psychiatrist and director of the Hosaka Psycho-Oncology Clinic, is the first psychiatrist to report on the problem of depression in old age in Japan. Dr. Hosaka has recently published a book titled “Psychiatrist de datukara dakara shiranai ‘geriatric depression’-free way of life” (Shufu To Seikatsu Sha), and has also written several other books on aging.

According to Dr. Hosaka, depression not only makes it difficult to live and painful to spend one’s days, but if left untreated, it can lead to a vicious cycle of withdrawal, weakness, dementia, and bed-riddenness. In fact, many elderly people say that they are more afraid of depression than dementia.

I, by the way, am a member of the elderly reserve army, having passed the age of 50. Depression in old age is not something to be dismissed. In the context of old age, dementia seems to be the first problem, but what is post-retirement depression?

In some cases, the symptoms of depression in old age can be mistaken for dementia because they are similar to and sometimes occur at the same time as dementia. Dementia generally begins with memory loss, such as forgetfulness, and progresses slowly.

On the other hand, depression in old age is triggered by stress and other factors, causing physical problems such as insomnia and loss of appetite, as well as anxiety and decreased motivation. In the case of depression in old age, many patients are conscious and physically active, but are aware that their “thinking has deteriorated,” so it is necessary to distinguish it from dementia. The difference between this condition and dementia is that in the case of depression in old age, there is a strong awareness that life is hard and a sense of happiness is not possible,” he says.

The author is still unable to think clearly and has not achieved a sense of happiness. …… In general, are seniors more prone to depression?

Some seniors become depressed after retirement, triggered by the loss of social ties, the death of a partner, spouse, or friend, or the independence of a child.” As they age, they become unable to do the things they were able to do when they were younger, such as losing physical strength and memory. Such changes are natural, but we tend to resist them, focusing only on the fact that we ‘can’t do it anymore,’ becoming depressed and losing confidence.

In addition, the number of seniors living alone is increasing, and some of them have a strong sense of loneliness, believing that ‘living alone = loneliness. These worries …… of loss and loneliness are common to seniors in varying degrees, but the type of people who have strong anxiety about the future, which they do not know how it will turn out, and who worry their hearts out there, tend to suffer from “depression in old age “

The situations mentioned are those that many seniors have in their old age. If this is the case, then many seniors may be the reserve army for “post-retirement depression.

According to Dr. Hosaka, signs of “post-retirement depression” include irritability and anger over minor things. As people get older, their thinking becomes more fixed and inflexible, and they become more selfish. This is “emotional aging” that makes it difficult to control one’s anger because the effort to understand others and to make oneself understood becomes cumbersome, he says, and requires attention. But becoming stubborn is something every senior is aware of. What could be more obvious?

The cleanliness of your home is a good indicator of your emotional stability,” he says. If a person is so disorganized that there is no room for his or her feet, it is safe to assume that his or her head and heart are also in a state of disorganization. It is quite possible that such a person could develop depression in old age.”

The author’s house is cluttered ……. It is even possible that I have already contracted the disease. So, how you deal with the problems that are a natural part of being a senior citizen is the difference between “depression in old age” and not, and is it just a matter of how you feel ……?

I agree. It is necessary to think, ‘There are things in life that can’t be helped. And I think the secret to living a contented life is to be optimistic about the things that can’t be helped, and to put effort into the things that can be helped.

For example, you should stop being a “nice person” and start acting like yourself, or financially, you should live according to the size of your own wallet, and so on.

Also, many seniors complain that they are lonely by themselves, but why don’t you try doing things on your own first? Once you get used to it, you will find that being alone is comfortable, and you will develop a sense of ‘I can be fine by myself.

What are other preventive measures?

Deep breathing to get oxygen throughout the body

Light exercise such as walking and exercising

Listening to favorite music and watching movies

Receiving massages and shiatsu

It is said that it is good to pay attention to the balance of the body and mind. However, if there is a real possibility of “post-retirement depression,” it is advisable to consult a psychosomatic medicine or mental health clinic. However, if there is a real possibility of “post-retirement depression,” one should consult a psychosomatic medicine or mental health clinic.

There are many seniors who thought they would live a carefree life after retirement, but after a while, they have more time on their hands and want to work again. This is probably because people want to be ‘useful,’ ‘needed,’ and ‘connected,’ rather than spending their days doing nothing.

The author is over 50 years old and has no savings for retirement, and he is certain that he will have to continue working even after he becomes a senior citizen. I’m even depressed at that point. ……

As they say, “Some people keep working for financial reasons, but either way, you are able to work because you are needed. This would be the same for community activities and volunteer work. The feeling of ‘I am needed’ or ‘I am of use to something’ is a source of hope.

Rather than bemoaning the fact that I have no savings, I, too, would like to work with the hope that I am “needed” and “useful,” and not suffer from depression in my old age!

Dr. Takashi Hosaka, Director of Hosaka Psycho-Oncology Clinic

How to live a life free from “geriatric depression” that I know because I am a psychiatrist” (written by Takashi Hosaka, published by Shufu To Seikatsu Sha)

  • PHOTO Takehiko Kohiyama (Mr. Hosaka)

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