Claire Hamilton was getting worried about her Aunt Julia. Julia always
seemed to have some new excuse to stay home. She had already, months ago,
stopped volunteering at a local Head Start program because her arthritis was
bothering her. Now Claire found herself on the phone pleading with her aunt to
join the family for birthdays and other celebrations. Claire finally went to
visit Julia. She found that her aunt had lost weight and appeared tired, and
Julia's normally tidy apartment was a mess.
When Claire expressed concern, Julia admitted she'd been
thinking a lot about death and said it might be better than going on the way
Five years ago, after ending a long-term relationship, Anita became seriously depressed. It benched the once-physically active writer, who asked that her last name be withheld to protect her privacy.
She stopped running and began gaining weight and falling out of shape. It was not the first time she had been depressed, and traditional therapy had not helped her as much as she had hoped. This time, she sought out someone different. She found Jane Baxter, PhD, a therapist who was able to get her moving...
Or take Al Cannon: His wife, Betty, was worried by a change in
his personality. For 15 years, the couple had enjoyed retirement, traveling,
and spending time with their eight grandchildren. Al had been a natural leader
-- someone his fellow firefighters had looked to for leadership and support.
But now he had become withdrawn, forgetful, and irritable. He no longer seemed
to enjoy his favorite foods or activities. He also slept poorly and often
awakened as early as 4 a.m., when he would go to the kitchen and make a racket
until Betty finally got up to see what he was doing.
Both Julia and Al sought help from their doctors, and each was
diagnosed with depression, a disorder that's as common in the elderly as it is
in younger people. And both, fortunately, were successfully treated. Without
treatment, both would they have risked getting worse physically as well as
becoming increasingly despondent and even suicidal.