September 14, 2009
No Secret to Aging Gracefully
Augusta, GA—The secret to aging gracefully is no secret at all.
According to Dr. William Schiff, psychologist at Walton Rehabilitation Health System in Augusta, Ga., healthy aging is simply living life. “Do things you enjoy and learn something new. Challenge yourself. And take care of your health,” said Dr. Schiff.
In particular, be on the lookout for signs of depression, which can rob your golden years of health and happiness. Loss of identity because of physical changes, the death of loved ones, and disabilities and pain can all bring on depression.
To combat depression and live life gracefully, Dr. Schiff advises:
· Get regular social support. While TV is great, sitting at home and watching TV all day is not stimulating enough. Get out socially by spending time with family and friends, and make new friends by involving yourself in clubs, church or volunteer organizations.
· Focus on your physical health. Eat healthy foods and get regular exercise, which helps get the blood flowing and can combat depression, pain issues and a variety of health problems. Take any medication or treatments as recommended by your physician. And avoid negative coping strategies like overindulging in alcohol use.
· Stay active mentally. Exercise your mind by reading, working on Sudoku or crossword puzzles, or trying out computer or video games that challenge your thinking skills.
· Avoid depressing thoughts. Listening to sad songs, flipping through old photo albums and getting into the habit of thinking sad thoughts can increase your risk for depression. Break those habits by focusing on the positives in your life, watching a comedy or reading a happy story.
· Be aware of warning signs. Just as every person is unique, depression is unique. Signs of depression can range from sadness to anger to constant complaining. If you have feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, apathy or appetite changes, talk to your doctor. He or she can refer you to a therapist who can be there to listen and provide guidance. It’s particularly important that family members be aware of warning signs as they are often the best judge of when their loved one needs help.
Media Contact: Danielle Wong Moores, PR Specialist, 706-434-0150
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