16 December 2013

SENIOR CITIZENS AND THE OTHER SIDE OF MERRY CHRISTMAS & SEASON'S GREETINGS.

The dynamics cited in the 2011 article,  Ethnic Disparities Persist in Depression Diagnosis, Treatment, still strike a chord especially as the holidays approach.  Unfortunately, this issue remains just as relevant today and more than likely will be a cause of  concern for many years to come.  The focus of the article was on the provision of mental health services and the shortcomings of system delivery especially with people of color.  Granted, some would argue cultural and religious concepts as contributing factors to the latter.  However, the conundrum becomes how does society solve the escalating needs of baby boomers and  funding for these services. To add insult to injury, the available programs have undergone recent significant cuts.  We must face the fact that these programs are usually of low priority when budgets are constructed to meet the needs of our citizens.   As a consequence these circumstances have an adverse impact on seniors and other marginalized groups.

Why belabor this?  Many of us are celebrating the birth of "Christ" and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. A likely response would be that this is an opportune time given that we are more attentive to those who are 'less fortunate'.  The act of giving is more pronounced during this time of the year. And according to the scriptures, Jesus made assistance and service to the poor, infirmed and marginalized the core of his teachings. There are band-aid approaches and I'm thankful for those efforts; though gaps in reaching the truly needy are widening. Through no fault of their own, seniors have lost their pensions and their jobs, and have been forced into early retirement. I can't help but wonder if escalated and more direct action measures to improve service delivery for those marginalized groups in our society (seniors for the sake of this argument) via the political, medical and social network systems are in order.    My point is  that solution-focused strategies are necessary and we must follow up on how effective they are as we continue to try to improve the quality of life for those who've given so much to society during their wage earning years.  Mobilization efforts are just as important on the local level as well as the national arena.
 

It is so disheartening to watch seniors struggle with mounting bills/expenses due either to health or cost of living issues. Their quality of life diminishes and depression and isolation become a way of life. This viewpoint has been addressed in previous posts within a macro perspective.  On a more interpersonal level, the video interview featuring Dr. Audish provides actual steps on what extended families, home health caretakers, and others in the helping professions can do to enhance service delivery for the elderly especially during the holiday season.  Memories of previous celebrations, death or estrangement of friends/key family members and the inability to function as they did in past take a disturbing toll on their emotional and physical health if ignored or untreated.    For those who are stubborn due to cultural or religious beliefs or too depressed to take advantage of the Dr.'s suggestions, there is a link provided on treatment for depression in the home and healthcare facilities.  I would be remiss if I didn't express appreciation for those in the clergy who are licensed counselors skilled in providing  medical interventions with spiritual guidance.  This also lends to seniors becoming more receptive to treatment options.  




Addendum:
This article by no means suggests that there are an alarming  number of seniors who don't have the wherewithal, means and support systems when it comes to mental health and medical interventions.  My contention is that as we sit at that table of good mental health and plenty; we should do all we can to make sure that a significant number are seated as well. With that said:

 MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Artist:  Thomas Blackshear 

                                                               
 Links:
 Holiday Blues and Depression in the Elderly
Home Depression Treatment Eases Symptoms Relationships and the Aging Process

 

5 comments:

Desertflower said...

Oh Carolyn you always have the best,most insightful topics!

My thoughts are that it's entirely natural to get depressed after 65 and on, because you lose so much!

You lose your job status, your senses are failing, you're usually medically compromised after 60. Everything is going downhill fast! :D

Believe me I would not hesitate to seek medical help if I ever thought I needed it. But right now Ijust try to keep as busy and involved with everything around me as I can.

I keep myself as busy as I can within my limitations. Right now, my latest discovery/passion is orchids. I sincerely believe they bring up my serotonin levels!

I go out there every day and mess with them, re-pot, water, fertilize, just enjoy! I love it.

But I also have the cakes and cookies, which bring me a sense of still being useful, and bringing joy to someone. To me that's so important.

Of course there's also the blogging and commenting which is my form of socializing nowadays. Also very important. I like to think of myself as a voice to be heard AND reckoned with! X) (please don't prick this balloon, let me keep that illusion :)))

But I thank God at least I am still able to do these things, where many cannot. So I do feel thankful every day.

Carolyn, as you can see I go on and on... But at least I keep myself happy, and that's as Martha would say "a good thing" hahaha!

Thanks for this timely article and the video.

Merry, merry, and Happy, happy! luv ya!

Carolyn Moon said...

Merry Christmas to you Liza and your family. I appreciate your insightful comments as always and your blog posts. Aging is not for the faint of heart. As Dylan Thomas writes:
"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Liza states:
"Of course there's also the blogging and commenting which is my form of socializing nowadays. Also very important. I like to think of myself as a voice to be heard AND reckoned with! X) (please don't prick this balloon, let me keep that illusion :)))"

Yes indeed!! Though I don't contribute to FN anymore; I always read your comments! :-)We have a lot to offer through our life experiences and our knowledge base...so continue with your commentaries and your artistic projects for there are many who are reading and gaining inspiration from them.

We will have a better New year! Luv ya back!! :-)

Desertflower said...

"Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Yes! Exactly how I feel, always! Thank you Carolyn.

It's always such a pleasure to read your insightful posts. I always learn something!

The Re-Up said...

Insightful, educational... I could go on and on..Stumbled upon this blog by accident, but I will definitely be subscribing. Keep up the great work!

-Andria

Carolyn Moon said...

@Andria: **Welcome** I appreciate your support and readership. :-)

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