The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many people to experience sadness, frustration, headaches, and other emotional and physical symptoms of depression. This holds especially true for children and the elderly population as the crisis is putting a major strain on mental health around the world.
How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Children and the Elderly Population?
To date, the pandemic’s effects on family members have been significant.
For kids, the crisis caused schools and childcare centers to temporarily shut down to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, and it resulted in the closure of playgrounds, parks, and other venues where children frequently get together and play.
In addition to forcing kids to deal with unexpected and substantial losses, the pandemic has had far-flung effects on the elderly population.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends older adults take extra precautions to lower their risk of getting infected by the coronavirus or inadvertently infecting others with it. Elderly adults may have a higher risk of developing serious complications from a coronavirus infection than others, particularly if they have underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung disease.
Having to socially distance from family members, elderly adults may also be more susceptible to complete social isolation, especially if they do not understand how to use modern technologies to stay connected to their loved ones.
Whereas many families are using video chats to engage with loved ones throughout the pandemic remotely, members of the elderly population may be more resistant than others to adopt new technology. Instead, older adults may be more inclined to try to “tough it out,” regardless of the social engagement opportunities they have lost as a result of the crisis.
Mental Health Crisis Plagues Children and the Elderly During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has caused drastic changes for children and the elderly, and their family members need to assist them accordingly. Otherwise, both groups may struggle to cope with depression caused by the pandemic.
Kids who experience depression due to the pandemic may feel sad, lonely, and hopeless. If depression symptoms go undiagnosed and untreated continuously, they may cause kids to lose weight, experience body aches and pain, and refuse to participate in school. Over time, depression symptoms can linger into a child’s teen years. When this happens, depression symptoms can escalate and may lead to substance abuse, avoidance of social activities, self-harm, and other issues that make it difficult for a teen to function and thrive.
Many of the mental health issues that affect kids during the pandemic also impact the elderly population.
The crisis has caused many older adults to become victims of ageism, despite the fact that every person is valuable, and each individual’s life is meaningful. As news reports surface that indicate older adults are increasingly susceptible to coronavirus infections, these adults may start to believe their lives have little to no value or meaning. In these instances, older adults may start to experience a wide range of depression symptoms.
Depression in older adults can cause sadness, low energy, and a loss of appetite, among other symptoms. The condition can also be more challenging to diagnose and treat in the elderly population than other age groups, as depression symptoms may be less obvious in older adults. Additionally, depression in older adults may occur in combination with diabetes, osteoarthritis, and other medical conditions — and the condition and any of its associated health issues need to be managed appropriately.
How to Help Children and the Elderly Cope with Depression During the COVID-19 Pandemic
With the ability to identify the symptoms of depression in kids and the elderly, anyone can provide mental health support to their sons, daughters, grandparents, and other family members during the coronavirus pandemic.
For those who believe a loved one is coping with depression, open the lines of communication. Let family members know that support is available, and you are happy to listen any time they want to share their concerns, thoughts, and feelings. You can also encourage a loved one to explore medical treatment for their depression symptoms.
A doctor’s appointment offers an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to pursue treatment options for depression symptoms. Many doctors are offering telehealth sessions during the crisis so that their patients can join appointments from home. These sessions help minimize risk and enable anyone to connect to a doctor via video chat on a smartphone or tablet.
Of course, for those who struggle with technology, you can help them set up a virtual doctor’s appointment. This can help your loved one limit stress and anxiety associated with setting up technology for the appointment and focus on what is most important: using the appointment to share their depression concerns with their doctor.
It may be beneficial to offer to attend a doctor’s appointment with your loved one as well. This may help them feel extra support, and ultimately, get the medical help necessary to manage their depression symptoms.
Medical treatment of depression is crucial, but there are other things you can do to support loved ones throughout the pandemic.
For instance, setting up regular video or phone calls with family members is a win-win for all involved. These calls allow loved ones young and old to chat with one another, from any location, at any time. Plus, they enable you to learn how your loved ones are feeling at a given moment and offer real-time support.
Besides video or phone calls, help family members take their mind off the news surrounding the pandemic. Encourage loved ones to turn off their TV to get away from the 24/7 news cycle to minimize stress. Rather than focus on COVID-19 news, they can use this time to read a book, go for a walk, and do other things that benefit their mental health instead.
Finally, the pandemic may seem hopeless at times, but it is important to recognize that it will eventually end. Family members can be there for one another throughout the crisis and after it concludes, and in doing so, ensure that their loved ones are well-equipped to manage their depression symptoms now and in the future.
Explore Depression Therapy Options
Many depression therapy options are available, and family members can help children and elderly relatives explore ways to manage their symptoms throughout the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.
For parents who believe their kids may be coping with symptoms of depression due to the crisis, consult with a pediatrician. At this time, a pediatrician can perform a medical exam, review a child’s medical history, and evaluate their depression symptoms. The pediatrician may then recommend psychotherapy, medication, and/or other depression therapies designed to help the child manage their symptoms. They may also offer techniques and strategies to help parents effectively support their child during this challenging time.
Comparatively, for those who want to help an elderly family member pursue depression therapy, a doctor’s consultation is crucial. The consultation allows an elderly family member to receive a medical evaluation and discuss their symptoms. The doctor can determine if psychotherapy and/or medication may be used to help manage these symptoms and may also recommend transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or other alternative depression therapies.
Partner with Achieve TMS for Depression Therapy
At Achieve TMS, we encourage you to help family members who are coping with depression symptoms during the coronavirus pandemic. We are proud to support our patients and their families throughout the crisis, and we offer a depression therapy program tailored to each patient.
Our TMS depression therapy program is available to adults only. The program can be used in combination with other depression treatments or on its own, and it may help patients achieve long-lasting symptomatic relief.
We are happy to teach patients about our depression therapy program and help them determine their eligibility for treatment. To learn more or to schedule a complementary consultation, please contact us online, or call or text us today at 877-909-8595.