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As we get older, our doctors worry about things like our physical health and being proactive when it relates to dementia but there’s little discussion on our mental health. What do we mean? Loneliness and depression can often creep up as a problem that one has never dealt with until they hit retirement age. After spending our entire lives surrounded by others in our offices and raising children, retirement is a prime season for mental health issues to surface.

According to Mental Health America, over 2 million Americans 65+ suffer from some form of depression. Symptoms of clinical depression can be triggered by chronic illnesses and one-third of widows and widowers meet the criteria for depression in the first month after losing a spouse and half of them remain depressed a year later.

While these statistics are alarming, there is hope. There is a way to combat the issue we face.

The first step is to recognize depression and loneliness. In this season of transition, depression and loneliness will appear a little different than they do in younger generations. In older generations, depression looks like grumpiness and insomnia. While these two signs don’t point only to depression, they may be a cause for concern and something to talk with your doctor about.

How do you combat the loneliness in this new season of life? 

Learn something new and adopt a new hobby. New hobbies are a great way to get out of the house and meet new people! You’ll fill your time learning something new and making new friends. New friends who share your new-found interests and have similar schedules give you something exciting to look forward to each day. With this new season of retirement, you could fill each day with something stimulating if you want to!

Man’s best friend

 Pets are the best. Adopting a dog from the local shelter is a great way to get yourself out of the house (that puppy sure does need a lot of walks) and meet others. Plus, it’s hard to be lonely when Fido is snuggling on the couch with you. There’s a reason we consider dogs man’s best friend.

Increase that social life

Consider moving into a senior community and hang out with others in the same boat. Think back to those college or military days, hanging out in the dorms or barracks, was great. You had people around you constantly and you all had similar interests because you were living life together. This is a great way to increase your social life and combat the loneliness.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor

Don’t be afraid to tell your doctor you’re feeling lonely and depressed. There’s nothing worse than holding it all in and thinking you’re alone in this fight. We promise you’re not, so mention it to your doctor.

Consider visiting Sanatoga Ridge because your next best friend could be your new neighbor. We offer many activities daily, so you’ll never be short on something to do or someone to do it with. Call 610-326-6282 today to schedule your visit.