Category Archives: Depression

Have Compassion For Yourself

How to Build Your Own Resilience & Create More Joy in Your Life
And Be More Present for Your Loved Ones
By Dr. Mara Karpel

“When we care for ourselves deeply and deliberately, we naturally begin to care for others — our families, our friends, and the world — in a healthier and more effective way.”
 ~ Cheryl Richardson, The Art of Extreme Self-Care

Being a caregiver can be extremely stressful and, in fact, caregivers have been found to have a statistically higher rate of chronic illnesses, severe emotional issues (such as depression and anxiety), and even earlier death. Self-compassion can build resilience in our health and our emotional well-being, even when immersed in stressful situations. Having such resilience is important for our ability to continue to do our best as a caregiver, as well as help us to create a life of passion, joy, and vitality…no matter our age.

Here are a few tips will help to get you started showing yourself more compassion:

  1. Treat yourself like you’re worthy right now, even if you don’t believe it.

This includes taking care of your body by eating a healthy diet and exercising. And begin to take action toward achieving your dreams. By following our dreams, we contribute to creating a beautiful world.

  1. Do things throughout the day, every day, that cheer you or inspire you.

Here are some examples of works for me: listening to music that I enjoy, reading something inspiring, taking a nap, walking in nature, exercising, breathing slowly, relaxing. Do what makes you feel more vital and alive. It doesn’t have to be something big. When you make this a daily priority, you are giving yourself the message that you deserve to be treated well.

  1. Surround yourself with positive people who love themselves and who treat you with love and respect.

Humans best learn by observation. If we observe people who love themselves and who love and respect the people around them, we learn how to do the same. Reduce or eliminate the amount of toxins you ingest and the amount of time you spend with toxic people. By being around positive loving people, we come to realize that we’re worthy of love and respect.

  1. Turn off the negative, derogatory, self-talk.

The voice in our head might come as the voices of our parents or other important people in our lives, or as our own voice, questioning our worthiness or telling us that we are “victims.” When author of the book, Self-Talk for a Calmer You: Learn How to Use Positive Self-Talk to Control Anxiety and Live a Happier, More Relaxed Life, Beverly Flaxington, was interviewed on my show, she pointed out, “It’s our own minds, so often, that defeat us. We say things to ourselves and tear ourselves down. The self-talk that we use on ourselves absolutely drains us. Lack of confidence and low self-esteem is very typically an outgrowth of too much negative self talk too often.” In order to truly love yourself, it’s important to become aware of this negative chatter and to know that this chatter is not the “truth.” Then, even if we can’t turn it off completely, it will lose its power over us and, perhaps, the volume will soften.

  1. Stop listening to negativity of others.

Remember, a person’s tendency to put another down is caused by his/her own lack of self-love.

  1. Forgive others and forgive yourself.

Use the ho’oponopono prayer to facilitate this practice. Simply imagine the person with whom you have difficulties and say:

I love you.
I’m sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank You.

Remember to repeat the process for everyone, including yourself.

  1. Make a list of your positive traits.

You might notice that you’re very good at finding things about yourself that you don’t like. Now, sit down and make a list of those qualities about yourself that you actually like. Spend some time every day expanding this list.

  1. Treat yourself like you would your own best friend.

Would you be so hard on your best friend about the same things that you’re so hard on yourself about? Try this: Sit down across from an empty chair. Visualize yourself sitting in that chair. Envision that the you in that chair is your BFF (Best Friend Forever), who is sharing with you all of his/her perceived weaknesses. How would you respond to your BFF? Make it a regular practice to talk to yourself with the same compassion you show to your BFF whenever you start to put yourself down.

  1. Have a sense of humor, even about your own mistakes.

If we can laugh at ourselves, then we can gain the more realistic perspective that we’re only human and that mistakes are events to learn from, rather than signs that we’re inept or that our character is severely flawed.

Keep this practice up for at least 30-days. Journal about the experience daily and then reflect upon the changes you’ve noticed.

About the Author
Dr. Mara Karpel is the author of the internationally best-selling book, The Passionate Life: Creating Vitality & Joy at Any Age.  A clinical psychologist, she has worked with adults of all ages for over 27 years and specializes in working with older adults and caregivers. For the past several years, Dr. Mara has also been evaluating veterans for service-connected mental health conditions. She is a speaker, the host of the Internet radio show, Dr. Mara Karpel & Your Golden Years, and a regular contributor to Thrive Global and contributor to Huffington Post. Born and raised in New York City, Dr. Mara currently resides in the “Live Music Capital of the World” Austin, Texas, where she’s been enjoying the music and following her dreams.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.

Seniors and Depression: How Medicare Can Help

Depression can be caused by genetic vulnerability, traumatic life events, serious medical conditions, faulty mood regulation in the brain, drug and alcohol use, and a number of other factors. It affects people of all ages, including more than 35 million Americans age 65 and older, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And unfortunately, depression in seniors is often more severe and has lower remission rates than in younger adults. However, Medicare can cover some types of depression therapy and treatment.

Signs of Depression in Older Adults

Signs and symptoms of depression in older adults often include ongoing feelings of sadness, despair, and hopelessness, as well as lack of motivation, loss of interest in hobbies, neglect of personal care, decrease in appetite, increase in sleep disturbances, alcohol or drug abuse, fixation on death, and thoughts of suicide. Also, some seniors don’t feel sad at all. In many cases, the predominant symptom of depression in older people is often physical complaints, such as headaches, arthritis pain, and other ailments.

If you or someone in your life is experiencing the signs of depression, professional help is necessary for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Medicare Coverage for Mental Health

When choosing Medicare coverage, it’s important to consider current mental health needs, as well as issues that may arise in the future. Begin by finding a mental health provider that accepts Medicare by using the search function on the Medicare website. Inpatient and outpatient mental health services can be covered, depending on your policies.

Medicare Part A covers inpatient mental health treatment and services in a psychiatric hospital or a general hospital. However, for psychiatric hospital stays, there is a 190-day lifetime limit. In either instance, you will need to pay your deductible, and then your Medicare coverage would kick in. Examine your policy for details about possible daily hospital coinsurance amounts.

Original Medicare Part B provides coverage for outpatient care, including an annual depression screening, diagnostic testing, and medication management. Evaluations, counseling, and therapy by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical social workers, and certain other providers are also covered. As long as a participating Medicare provider that accepts assignment is utilized, Part B pays 80 percent of the cost of these services. Providers who take assignment have agreed to accept the Medicare-approved amounts for covered services. Some patients may find it difficult to pay their share, but Medigap insurance can cover those costs.

Medicare Advantage plans provide the same services as Original Medicare; plus, they can provide additional treatment options. For example, some plans have management programs for patients suffering from depression. This program offers counseling, coaching, and support by care management staff to help patients adhere to treatment for depression.

During the Open Enrollment Period each year (October 15 to December 7), you should evaluate your health care needs and figure out if you need to make any changes. During Open Enrollment, seniors can switch over from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Switching to a different Medicare Advantage plan is also possible, and you can also sign up for prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D) during this time.

Age-related diseases can worsen depression symptoms, and conversely be worsened by depression. If you or someone close to you is dealing with depression or other mental health issues, it’s important to get help in the form of professional counseling, medication, and/or other treatments. If the person in question is a senior, there is proof that they need to get help is even greater. Talk to your family and your healthcare provider to find assistance. It’s possible to secure successful treatment and get back to living a fulfilling life.

About the Author
Teresa Greenhilll is the co-creator of MentalHealthForSeniors.com, which is dedicated to providing seniors with information on physical and mental fitness so that they can be active and happy in their golden years.

About Well Beyond Care
Well Beyond Care is the only company that teaches families and individuals how to find and manage affordable non-medical in-home care, while solving the chronic problems of caregiver truancy and turnover through the web application, WellBeyondCare.com. The Company’s platform combines the power of the internet with the personal touch of nurses to offer families a pathway to transitional care, allowing our elderly parents to safely age-in-place. Their solution lowers stress in hiring a caregiver and saves families tens of thousands of dollars per year in care costs.