The recent death of actor and comedian Robin Williams prompted much-needed public discussion about depression, which affects millions of older Americans — including many who face a number of common risk factors such as financial stress, decline in physical and cognitive health, and social isolation. Research has linked depression to poorer functioning, health status and quality of life among older adults. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to identify and treat depression in this population, a challenge that comes with a substantial cost.
The longevity capital of the world, as you may recently have read in the AARP Bulletin, is the Nagano region of Japan, where women can expect to live an average of 87.2 years and men an average of 80.9 years. Experts chalk it up to a healthy diet, regular physical activity, extended work years and aggressive government intervention.
Who do you think is lonelier - adults in their mid to late 40s or adults age 70 and older? One might surmise that the older folks have experienced more loss of loved ones, diminished physical or mental abilities and/or are less active, which could lead to increased loneliness. Counter to what many people think, folks ages 45-49 are lonelier than those 70 years and older according to our research (43% vs. 25%, respectively). In fact, older people are happier than younger folks. In our recent happiness research, people experienced their lowest levels of happiness in their early 50s, and their happiness steadily increased with age.
Psychiatrists have long acknowledged that anger and irritability are classic symptoms of major depression in teens and children, but for some reason, prolonged adult crabbiness has been generally ignored.
Sure, those grandbabies are cute, but a close bond with your adult grandchildren can help reduce depression for both of you - and the closer the bond, the more antidepression benefits there are, a new study finds.
Today, when we're feeling in need of advice or reassurance about our inner woes, we're accustomed to turning on the TV and watching someone such as psychologist Phil McGraw or physician and addiction expert Drew Pinsky elicit epiphanies from troubled people right in front of the camera, and in the process dispense advice to millions. But it was Joyce Brothers, who died on May 13 at age 85 in Fort Lee, N.J., who invented the role of the TV psychologist in the 1950s and first got us to trust in a celebrity mental health expert.
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