Baby Boomers and Depression

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Did you know that one of the most chronic conditions that baby boomers are diagnosed with is depression? In fact, more boomers suffer from depression than hypertension, according to the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH).

Depression is often thought of as an invisible disease, yet it takes many forms such as insomnia, relationship difficulties, lack of hope and joy. Factors contributing to baby boomer depression include empty nest syndrome long work hours, reduced chances for career advancement, caring for children, grandchildren and elderly family members, health issues, worries about lack of resources for retirement, and isolation.

As people age it is natural to look forward to retiring and focusing on things that are pleasurable. Yet, a recent study by the Institute of Economic Affairs found the likelihood someone will suffer from clinical depression increases by 40 percent after retirement. Aging includes physical changes, life changes and male and female hormonal changes all affecting mood and mental health.

So, what can be done to head off depression as people age? It is natural to become distracted focusing on endless to do lists rather than being present in the moment. The challenge is finding a way to slow down.

  • Get enough sleep at night. Sleep hygiene is as important to our mental health and physical health as grooming and good nutrition, so create a sleep routine which includes turning off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed.
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Skipping meals and poor nutrition can negatively impact health in many ways, both mental and physical.
  • Avoid alcohol at least six hours before sleep. Alcohol prevents REM sleep, aggravates breathing problems and causes dehydration.
  • Get up, get dressed, and get moving. Taking a daily walk increases circulation and releases hormones that make you feel better. Try some form of physical activity even if you can’t get to the gym. Click to read entire article.

The Associated Contributors

The Associated Contributors are writers from The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

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