Facts don’t lie. Seniors who have symptoms of depression over a 10-year span may be more likely to develop diabetes than those seniors without depressive symptoms.
According to the April 23, 2007, issue of Archives of Internal Medicine (a JAMA/Archives journal), older adults who experience symptoms of depression - whether they have occurred only once; increased in frequency or intensity; or just remained steady over a 10-year period - may be more likely to develop diabetes than are those without depressive symptoms.
The study, conducted by the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, reported that two million older adults experience depression, and 15.3 percent of those over 65 have diabetes. For 10 years, study participants were evaluated annually for the presence of 10 symptoms of depression, including those related to mood, irritability, calorie intake, concentration and sleep.
At the beginning of the study, the average score was 4.5, with one-fifth of participants scoring eight or higher. During the follow-up period, scores increased by at least five points in nearly half of participants, and 234 individuals developed diabetes.
Other signs of depression include feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness; decreased energy and fatigue; feelings of hopelessness or pessimism; and recurring aches and pains that don't respond to medical treatment. The good news is that one of the best ways to fight depression is through companionship.
Seniors should be encouraged to "reconnect" with old friends, and to establish new relationships as well. Through family, the neighborhood, place of faith, or local senior center, seniors can be a part of their community.
A Companion helper is another way for the senior to again become engaged. Companionship provides peace of mind to the older adult and also gives much needed assistance to the senior and their family. Home Instead Senior Care's specially trained CAREGivers are screened, bonded, insured and trained in activities to engage the senior.