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September 27th, 2016

Aging with Grace…

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I’ve recently received inquiries regarding grief and depression so this week I’ll offer some insight, information and suggestions.

Dear Grace,
This winter my Dad passed away and my Mom is now living alone. I’ve noticed that she just doesn’t seem to be herself anymore; she’s not eating well and she doesn’t want to leave the house. She refuses to go to counseling, which I’ve suggested, so what more can I do?
Thanks,
Emma

Dear Emma,
The grieving process is something that each individual handles differently and this may just be your Mom’s way of dealing with her loss. That being said, there could also be other physical things going on. Listed below are a few avenues to explore:

-If your Mom hasn’t seen her doctor recently, suggest she make an appointment for a physical and to discuss how she’s feeling. There may be something physically amiss that is contributing to her wellbeing. Also, if the suggestion for counseling comes from her doctor, she may accept it more easily than from a family member.

-Does your Mom have a friend that has gone through losing a spouse? Talking with someone in a similar situation may be helpful. Sometimes it easier to talk freely with someone who has experienced what you’re going through.

-If your Mom is affiliated with a church and knows the clergy, she may be open to having him/her come visit her. There may also be volunteer opportunities through this connection that would get her out and about.

-Reach out to CVHH&H (802.223.1878) and/or CVCOA (802.479.0531) to see what these agencies currently have available for grief counseling and support.

I hope this information will help you and your Mom through this difficult time.
Sincerely,
Grace

Dear Grace,
This winter, I’ve been struggling with getting up in the morning and feeling like I can’t get anything done. I’m also tired all the time and irritable. I’ve heard of something about seasonal depression; is this real and if so, is this what it feels like?
Thanks,
Worried

Dear Worried,
First of all, yes it is a real illness called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression. Symptoms can include tiredness, fatigue, sadness, weight gain, insomnia or sleeping too much, body aches and difficulty concentrating. This disorder affects 1-10 percent of adults and is four times more common in women than men. Where you live can increase your chance of getting SAD (there’s an increased risk for those living further away from the equator). There are several things that can be done to relieve the symptoms of SAD including additional Vitamin D, phototherapy (bright light for at least 30 minutes a day), antidepressants and acupuncture.

The first step in finding out if this is what you have and what can be done to improve your situation, is to discuss this with your primary care doctor.
Good Luck,
Grace

If you have topics you’d like more information on or questions you’d like answered, please email me: DearGrace@pibarre.org or write me: Dear Grace, c/o Project Independence, 81 N. Main Street – Suite 1, Barre, VT 05641-4283

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