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Home Caregivers - How To Cope With Birthday Depression In Your Seniors

Mar 15, 2018 by Comfort Keepers Newark, DE

When your birthday comes every year, you may find that as a reason to celebrate – that is, until you reach a year where you begin to hate your age.

This is the birthday reality for many seniors every year. Another birthday just means they’re growing older, which fills them with dread and anxiety instead of the happiness that used to.

If you or your loved one are beginning to feel this way towards birthdays, you may have birthday depression.

What are the symptoms of birthday depression?

Along with an overall negative attitude towards birthdays, telling symptoms are:

  • Not wanting to focus on the upcoming birthday, or being negatively obsessed with it approaching
  • Feeling a sense of paranoia or anxiety on the day before and/or day of
  • Feeling unexplainably sad around their birthday time
  • A noticeable change in mindset towards their birthday
  • Avoiding social interaction, especially with those normally close
  • Loss in appetite
  • Sleep issues revolving around thinking about their birthday
  • Feeling physical pains or aches

It can even go as far as to having thoughts of suicide or harming others as their birthday comes closer.

How can birthday depression be treated?

While there is no special diagnosis for birthday depression, going to the doctor about the presence of normal depression or other psychological conditions may put you on the right track. The above symptoms coincide very closely to those of chronic depression.

In the meantime, here are some tips to help feel more positive and accepting of your special day:

Make it about you.

Out of all of the days in a year, today is the day you get to be a bit selfish, don’t you think? And if you’re not looking forward to your birthday, making it about spoiling yourself a little will help you be at least a little more excited about it.

If you want a huge party, then have a huge party. If you want to just spend time with your family, then that works too. Do something that YOU want to do.

It’s all about your mindset.

Begin your birthday by making a list of what you’re grateful for. Starting on a positive note will help you be more cheerful the rest of the day.

Keep things simple.

One thing that can kill that positive mindset is being in over your head in planning your special day.

Try and make the plans you want, but keep them simple. This way, if something small goes wrong, it’s not a big deal and won’t have a cascading effect on the rest of your plans.

If you want people to know, tell them.

If you’re worried people will forget about your birthday, remind them! There is no harm in doing this – and you may get people making a fuss about you, calling you, and giving you gifts to celebrate the day, perhaps like you’re wanting.

Reflect in the sadness.

Research shows that while younger people are happier about their birthdays, older people tend to have better mental health. This is because even in the negative moments, they reflect on the lessons they can gain from them, or can flip their thinking to make it more positive.

Conversely, if you’re not willing to reflect in the sadness and don’t even want to make a deal of your birthday at all, it is perfectly okay to just ignore it. Keep yourself busy so that the day flies by, and then you won’t have to deal with it at all and can move on with things for the rest of the year.

Make resolutions.

Just as we all make New Year’s resolutions, try making some from birthday to birthday. This will help you to end your day on a positive, inspired note, and give you a reason to actually look forward to your birthday next year.

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