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Blue Mood Be Gone

Despite popular opinion, depression and loneliness are not normal parts of aging, although many seniors experience these feelings.

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For Seniors Who Suffer From Loneliness and Depression, Help is Available

Despite popular opinion, depression and loneliness are not normal parts of aging, although many seniors experience these feelings. According to a University of Michigan study, nearly 60 percent of more than 500 seniors age 70 and older experienced some form of loneliness.1

"It's vitally important to keep older adults from falling into despair," said Jeff Huber, president and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the Home Instead® network. Similarly, the National Institute of Mental Health Web site asserts that, "Emotional experiences of sadness, grief, response to loss and temporary ‘blue' moods are normal, but persistent depression that interferes significantly with one's ability to function is not."

Family members who suspect that the older adults in their lives might be suffering from depression should immediately help them seek medical attention. There is now a wider-than-ever variety of medications and therapies that can significantly improve these seniors' lives.

Help from friends and caregivers can make a difference, as well. If a senior needs additional in-home support, the Home Instead organization is there to help. Fully screened, trained, bonded and insured CAREGiversSM can provide senior care to older adults through meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands and shopping and Alzheimer's care, but, as Huber said, "Companionship and support to seniors and their families are among the most valuable services we provide."

Along these lines, while the holidays – typically a festive time of year for most people – can be a particularly difficult time for older adults who are psychologically "down," Home Instead's Be a Santa to a Senior® program can be a real boost to older adults throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Since introducing this Be a Santa to a Senior program, Home Instead has helped provide 1.2 million gifts to more than 700,000 seniors.

"Our home care franchise offices have seen firsthand how loneliness can affect the lives of seniors," Huber said. "CAREGivers and other Home Instead staff members work during the holidays and year-round to provide the assistance and companionship that helps keep older adults healthy and happy."

1. "Lonely in an Aging Crowd; U-M Studies Count the Way": Online at

Last revised: February 15, 2011

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. June 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Posted by Suzanne

    My mother is only 71, but a recent bout with cancer has left her frail and quite anxious. I am so grateful she seems to have beaten the cancer, but I find I have very little patience with her inability to do things sometimes. I know that she is a different person, physically, but helping my dad care for her (and always worrying about her) has really taken its toll. I just feel so guilty for being short with her sometimes, and I wish I had more patience and understanding. The worst part is that i work with seniors, and don't feel the same level of frustration with the seniors at work. (feeling like a rotten daughter)


  2. June 27, 2011 at 10:53 am | Posted by Cat Koehler, Social Media Advocate, Home Instead

    Maryann - Have you looked into volunteer opportunities in your area? Animal shelters, hospitals and non-profit organizations are always looking for help. It's a great way to get out, make new friends and serve your community. Good luck!


  3. June 26, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Posted by maryann

    I know how being alone can make you feel down and very lonely, I'm only 59 and not working and my husband still works a full time job, he's gone 5 days a week from 1 in the afternoon till 12 thirty in the morning, it's horrible. I'm trying to find a job to take up some of my time. I hate being alone in the house with no one to talk to. It's a very long day. can't have any hobbies with no money. I walk alot just to get out. cleaning, laundry and watching t.v. gets old after a while with no one to share it with. Sunday's are especially hard because my husband is home on fridays' and saturday's with me. Nothing I can do about it, my husband has to work, my dad is deceased and mom in an assisted living facility 2 hours away from me, no neighbors to really socialize with or friends who live nearby, best friend lives 2 hours away and she works. very lonely existence.


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