“Ann” is 70 years old and recently came to Family Service seeking treatment for depression.
She said it all started with the death of her son 10 years ago. She became the primary caregiver for his children after his death, and ignored the signs and symptoms of her own depression.
Three months ago, her husband passed away and Ann realized her depression had never really gone away and was now intensifying. She was also suffering panic attacks, in which she felt anxious and afraid of dying. She was no longer engaged with friends or family and reported not wanting to get out of bed, loss of appetite, and feelings of worthlessness.
Ann said she had “lost her own identity in caregiving” and now felt that she had “lost my role… my purpose in life.”
Ann’s situation highlights the disabling affects associated with depression in the elderly population, and emphasizes the need for treatment of this highly prevalent, but treatable disorder.
Depression is the most common cause of emotional suffering in older adults. It is NOT a part of normal aging.
With counseling, Ann was able to experience a reduction in stress, depression and anxiety. She was able to formulate coping and self-care strategies, enhance communication skills resulting in healthier relationships and experience improved both physical and emotional health!!
Cathy Thompson is the Director of Older Adult Services