Nearly everyone has heard of a midlife crisis, but a late-life crisis is not as popular as a term. A midlife crisis happens more to those who are between the ages of 35 and 50, while a late-life crisis is something that can occur to those who are 60 and over. One of the more prominent late-life crisis symptoms is depression, which can creep up on the elderly and disabled, particularly if they spend a lot of time alone. If you’re a caregiver, there are a few things to watch out for and a few ways to help. If you’re over 60 yourself, there are signs to be mindful of and some self-care steps you can take to ensure that your mental health is in check.
Late-life Crisis: Stressors to Be Mindful Of
One of the triggers that can set off a midlife crisis is stress. Raising children, job stress, the question of “What am I really doing with my life?.” – these types of stressors can be huge. But when you’re 60 or over, or even 55 or over, you’re still facing stress — just different types of stress. In fact, you still may be facing family stressors, but they may present differently. Perhaps there is a strain with your adult children, or you’re experiencing sadness that you don’t see your adult children and grandchildren often enough. You may have experienced a recent loss. As we age, we begin to lose some of our dearest friends and family. And that hurts. If you live alone, you may be feeling misdirected and lonely and unsure of how to spend your time. You may be experiencing trouble socializing. These are all precursors to late-life crisis and simple things to be mindful of. Even if these stressors don’t lead to a crisis per se, they may certainly lead to late-life depression, which can be a tough hole to dig out of. However, there are ways to dodge the potential late-life crisis.
Late-life Crisis: Recognizing Depression Symptoms
If you’re a caregiver, your loved one may not be able to recognize symptoms of depression on their own. This is especially true if they are experiencing vascular depression, which is a type of depression that presents only later in life. Patients may not have experienced depressive symptoms at all at any time throughout adulthood. This type of depression may co-occur with other illnesses, which is often the case or is brought on by changes in brain chemistry. However, depression is often a big part of a late-life crisis, and it’s important to recognize the symptoms. Common symptoms of depression include:
- Loss of interest in activities or things once enjoyed
- Feeling down, sad, “empty,” or anxious
- Eating less or not at all; loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Suicidal ideation (or attempts)
- Digestive or GI issues without a precise diagnosis
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
- Frequent crying
- Aches and pains
If you feel your loved one may be depressed or experiencing a late-life crisis, it’s important to get them treatment, the same way you would if they were experiencing a physical problem.
Late-life Crisis: Getting Treatment
In addition to depression, other signs of late-life crisis may include increased anger or outbursts, isolation, or poor physical health. It’s important to get your loved one to a mental health provider to have them evaluated and treated. However, not everyone will be compliant or interested in going to see a therapist or psychologist/psychiatrist to have these late-life symptoms treated. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to call your insurance company or network provider to see if there are any in-home providers in your area.
Many in-home therapists can provide treatment to your loved one to get them through a late-life crisis or troubled times. What you can do as a caregiver is to help them to socialize more by taking them to social events, inviting people over, and making sure they get plenty of sunlight and fresh air. One of the best things to help combat aging is not to be sedentary and to stay active. If they are suffering from mobility issues, it is still important to be as active as possible. There are many mobility aids that can help.
To learn more about late-life crisis treatment options or to hear about mobility products that can be life-changing, such as wheelchair ramps or stairlifts, contact the Williams Lift Co. today. We want both caregivers and patients to live their best lives possible.