Is there someone in your life you worry about because they just seem to have lost interest in life – no longer doing the things they have always enjoyed? Or maybe over the last several weeks you have felt let down, depressed or hopeless and have felt little interest or pleasure in doing things?
But I can hear you say “Yeah, what do you expect? Getting old isn’t for the faint of heart. I am constantly losing my close friends, I can’t hear worth a bleep – I am constantly asking ‘what did you say?’; my kids have told me to move into assisted living so they don’t have to worry – as if my life is theirs; and this back, knee, hip pain – take your pick – ruins my mornings. And the pills – when do you say enough is enough!”
Granted in our later years we experience frustration, sadness, and grief, but left unattended they can lead to more serious levels of depression.
Sharon Johnson, OSU Associate Professor in Family and Community Health, discusses many aspects of later life depression in the online series Mastery of Aging (http://outreach.oregonstate.edu/programs/agingwell/modules/) designed by Oregon State University in partnership with AARP.
In the series she points out that depression is serious. It can cause rapid health deterioration, increase susceptibility to infections and illnesses and increase time to recover. And at the extreme end, can lead to suicide. But the good news is there are steps you can take.
First, find support: someone to talk to who will listen and validate your feelings. And if that isn’t possible or doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Depression is treatable and in most cases can be resolved in a short period of time.
Second, participate in some form of aerobic exercise (long and slow) such as walking, swimming or something a little more exciting: dancing into the morning hours. It is suggested 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day will help.
Third, get involved. Structure your time to do something interesting and meaningful every day such as baking cookies, helping a neighbor, keeping a journal, volunteering for Meals-on-Wheels or having lunch with friends.
We naturally experience times of sadness. That’s life. But don’t get stuck in your sadness. Find support and create structure in your life. As long as the sun rises in the morning, there is more to live.
This is the time I start to panic. The Center still has available eight tickets for the 2:00 matinee performance of Cirque Dreams: Illumination on Saturday May 29th. Call the Center to purchase your tickets.
The Northern Wasco County Parks and Recreation offers many opportunities to get you up and at ‘em. On the horizon is a Birding Hike on Sunday, May 23rd, 7:00 am (repeated on July 18th) but you need to pre-register. And the Sunup Walking Club is in full swing, meeting every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:00 am for the next several weeks – this week they meet at Klindt’s Cove but you better call to make sure I have that correct. To register or for information call 541-296-9533.
At 11:00 am next Tuesday May 25th, the Tuesday before Memorial Day, the Center has scheduled Michal Kawka to speak about WW II. Michal is a native Pole who has recently moved to The Dalles and has an extensive knowledge of the Holocaust in Poland as well as other WW II history. It should be a fascinating presentation.
And I mustn’t forget Tuesday night music. On the 25th, the Jazz Generations – the small band playing big band sounds – will be performing. And tonight all I need say is “Truman”. The music starts at 7:00 and admission is free although donations are always appreciated.
Of the twelve responses to last week’s question, Mary “the mouse” Davis won a free Saturday breakfast for remembering the comedian “lonesome” George Gobel who starred in his own weekly show from 1954 – 1960. This week’s “Remember When” question comes from the comic pages. What was the name of the central character of the long running (1948 – 1975) daily comic strip who described the human condition by saying “We have met the enemy and he is us.”? Call 541-296-4788 or email email@example.com.
Well it’s time to take five. Until we meet again, in every life there are ups – and then there are days you feel like lonesome George when he asked, “Did you ever get the feeling that the world was a tuxedo and you were a pair of brown shoes?”