Depression, Aging, and the Current Economic Climate, Part 1

The economic decline over the last couple of years in the United States, with its accompanying number of people who have lost their jobs, their lifestyles, and often their homes, reminds me how many people could also be struggling with depression. Unfortunately, the older people are when enduring these life-changing losses, the more likely they will become depressed and continue to struggle with depression as they move into their later years.

There are many people in recent years that have worked most of their lives, purchased homes and cars, developed a lifestyle to which they had become accustomed, who then found themselves with no job and no money. Even if they did have a savings account, that money could flow out like water through a faucet.

Loss of job more difficult for older workers

People who are in their fifties and sixties when these losses take place often have greater difficulty before them as they try to adjust to a new way of life. But, they also know that getting any kind of job or regaining their former lifestyle may never happen.

It seems the longer we live, the more likely we are to suffer serious life situations that bring grief into our lives. Depending on how a person reacts and whether they are able to overcome their situation after what they have experienced will determine whether they end up suffering bouts of depression.

As we age we are more vulnerable to life changes such as losing a job, a spouse or child, our health, or our home. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the energy, the money, or the means to change the situations around us that have upended our lives.

Signs of depression may appear

The type of depression most elderly people experience occurs when there is separation or loss. There’s a feeling of helplessness – especially if aging leads to poverty and isolation. Even a bout of bad weather such as serious storms that result in loss of electricity for a few days or flooding to occur in their home may cause depression. Especially if an elderly person feels they are stuck and they are unable to see how they can get out of the present situation.

The elderly are certainly more vulnerable than the rest of the population and when physical and environmental changes lead to isolation, depression may occur.

Most people who are younger, even those in their forties or early fifties, can often rebound after serious setbacks. But, when life changing situations happen to those in their upper fifties, sixties or beyond, the ability to bounce back decreases with age. The feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are more likely to appear.

Tomorrow we are going to continue this article as we discuss how today’s economic climate can bring depression to those who have lost their jobs, homes, and lifestyles, especially those who are in their fifties and sixties when these losses occur.


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