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Undoing Depression

Many treatment options exist for elderly depression.

Beyond Traditional Treatments

Medication and therapy may not be best for every one. "I pushed my mother, who had worked as a doctor, into therapy, when what she really needed was a sense of being useful and important in the community,'' Pipher says. ''I should have suggested getting involved in a program in the school where she was a reading buddy to a child, or doing more work with the senior center."

Depending on the level of depression, a variety of activities might help. Joining a support group (ask a physician for a referral) or helping to coach a sports team are some possible activities. Having pets and gardening can also ease mild depression, Pipher finds. "The trick is to connect older people to things they love and to let them feel useful,'' she says.

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