Social Activities Shown to Reduce Depression Among Older Adults

By Susan J. Campbell

Depression can be a common disorder among older adults, especially if they live alone, have been moved to an unusual place for care, have lost loved ones or friends their age or simply don’t have anything to spur their interest.

In a recent Science Daily release, a new study was examined that suggests interventions that focus on social activities can significantly reduce symptoms of depression among older adults.

Anna Forsman, a PhD student at the Nordic School of Public Health suggests that meaningful social activities that are adapted to the individual needs and abilities of older adults should be recognized in the planning of elder care.

Depression has been found to be the most prevalent mental health disorder among older adults. With an aging population that is constantly increasing, the mental health of this population should be a priority.

Depressive symptoms are significantly reduced when psychosocial interventions are introduced among the 65 and older sector of the population. Social activities appear to be the most promising of the psychosocial interventions in regard to improving the health of older adults.

Studying this area, Forsman also noted that while social activities had a strong and significant impact on mental health, there was no significant benefit found when the intervention focused on skill training, support groups, physical exercise, reminiscence or interventions that combined content.

By identifying those interventions that have a marked effect on reducing depression symptoms among the older population, more effective approaches to elder care can be planned.

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