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Fri, Aug 19, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Two simple things you can do to fight off depression and dementia

Marshall Medical psychiatrist Rachel Pope schooled senior citizens about depression and dementia, explaining the difference between the two and how to avoid both.

“Aging, tragic events and retirement are normal life events. Sadness is a normal response. It doesn’t mean you have depression, but it may lead to that," Pope said.

Symptoms of depression:

•    Feeling sad, hopeless and crying

•    Decreased interest and isolation

•    Appetite and weight change

•    Sleep changes

    Feeling worthless or excessively guilty

•    Poor concentration

•    Thoughts of death or suicide

How to fight depression:

Dr. Pope repeatedly urged the seniors to exercise and socialize to stay clear of these disorders.  Adhering to a healthy diet can also help.

Older adults living in community settings such as independent living apartments or assisted living homes have been shown to have the lowest rate of depression in the country. Those people are more likely to socialize, get exercise and eat well.

What is dementia?

Dementia generally describes disorders that include memory problems as a symptom, such as Alzheimer’s. More than 5 million Americans and 89,000 people in Alabama over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s, Dr. Pope said.

How to prevent dementia:

Staying active, along with engaging in new tasks, learning a new skill or playing memory games, also help prevent Alzheimer’s.

GoldCare 55+ reaches out to area seniors by promoting a healthy and independent lifestyle. Members benefit from free health screenings, discounts on wellness events and better access to Marshall Medical Center services.

If you are 55 or older and would like to take advantage of all the benefits GoldCare 55+ has to offer, download an application here. If you have any questions, please call (256) 571-8025 or (256) 753-8025) for Arab area residents.