Ruby’s daughter let herself in with her key at the back door.
When she walked in, the house was dark. Strange…she thought. Her mom was usually home on Saturdays. She quietly stepped through the house looking for some sign of her mom. A grave sense of dread came over her as the house continued to be silent…what was she going to find…? She stepped into her mom’s bedroom, and saw her form lying in bed. Joan stopped and caught her breath. Joan had been worried about her mom lately, and the heartbreak of elderly depression, since her husband died 11 months ago.
Then a weak voice said, “Hi honey…”
Joan exhaled. What a relief.
“Hi Mom! The house was dark and quiet… I was concerned. You rarely leave the house on Saturday…”
Joan stopped short of voicing what she’d feared.
“Are you feeling ok? Why are you in bed..? It’s really dark in here…”
“What day is it?” Ruby quietly asked.
“It’s Saturday, Mom. How long have you been in bed..?”
“Well, I remember watching the weather on Tuesday…I was wondering if I needed to wrap the pipes.”
“Ok. That was Tuesday… Do you remember what happened Wednesday?”
“I guess I’ve just been sleeping…”
“Mom? Since Tuesday?”
“I don’t know…maybe? I got up and went to the bathroom at times then just felt tired and went back to bed…”
“Do you remember if you ate anything..?”
Joan was alarmed. Her mom hadn’t eaten since Tuesday. No wonder she was weak. And she’d gone four days without her medicines.
Four Days without Her Medication
Joan headed to the kitchen to make her mom some soup. She wanted to go easy and see how she digested soup before solid food. After opening the can of soup and dumping it in the pan, she looked at her mom’s medicines.
Well, that confirmed it. The pills were still in the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday compartments.
Joan was shaken to think if she hadn’t dropped by, and another week had gone by, what could have happened.
Joan brought her mom the bowl of soup with some crackers and a glass of milk on a tray. She helped her 84 year-old mom sit up and propped her with pillows, then set the tray in front of her. Slowly, her mom nibbled on a cracker, sipped the milk and finally scooped a spoonful of hot chicken noodle soup. She closed her eyes as she swallowed.
“ Yes, it tastes good.”
Joan talked about trivial things to try to lighten the mood. Ruby had looked after everyone all her life, but since Joan’s dad, her mom had seemed less and less engaged in her own life.
Maybe listless was the word.
She’d withdrawn from her bridge friends. She’d said it didn’t seem as fun anymore. Her grandkids were all grown with families of their own. Cleaning house and cooking was a chore without Charles to do it for.
She just got tired of the struggle. What was the point?
She felt tired all the time, and found herself taking more and more naps.
How do you find purpose in life after the companion who’s been there for 62 years is suddenly gone?
The Heartbreak of Elderly Depression
The more questions Joan asked, the clearer it became that her mom wasn’t fighting the flu, she was depressed. At least she seemed to be.
Joan wondered how long she’d been depressed. And whether she’d thought about ending her life… It had really shaken her to walk through that dark silent house.
She asked her mom more questions. Ruby was matter-of-fact. “Yes, the doctor told me I was depressed a couple years before your dad died. He prescribed some pills for me, and I took them, but they didn’t do anything. I think they must have been those sugar pills you hear people talk about. I finally stopped taking them. There was no point.”
“Joan,” Ruby said, “I miss your dad. Charles and I talked about everything. Without him, life is flat. It’s just so empty. I have you and your sister, and I love you both, and all the grandkids and their families. But I feel so empty.”
“Mom, I can only try to imagine how much loss you feel with Dad gone. We all miss him, but he was your constant companion and love for 62 years. I ache for you… and I can’t help but feel that even though grief has made you feel empty, that does’t mean your time on earth is finished. Maybe something can be done to help you feel better, you know? Would you be ok with me making an appointment to see Dr. McShane? We can go together.. Ok?”
The Heartbreak of Elderly Depression – How Can We Help?
Here’s the thing. Our parents (and grandparents) do look after everyone else all their lives. Then, they slow down, and the the rest of the family can easily forget to touch base. Why? Because life is busy. We all live with packed schedules, and a week can go by without our even noticing it.
Our elderly loved ones can find themselves withdrawing, slowing down, and feeling somewhat useless. It’s not that unusual for depression to follow.
In many cases, prescribed antidepressants help. But in some, they don’t help in spite of trying more than one. When the disorder doesn’t respond to multiple treatments, something more advanced is needed.
IV Ketamine Treatment Can Reverse Elderly Depression
IV ketamine for treatment resistant depression may just be the treatment of choice, to restore your parent’s brain circuity. By turning on mRNA which switches DNA to “ON” your brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor (BDNF) turbo boosts the prolific and rapid production of dendrites and dendritic spines to sweep through the important parts of the brain with connections to send signals at the speed of light.
Depression lifts, joy surges, creative thought grows, and Grandma gets that sparkle back in her eye, and has the energy to play bridge with the girls again… and make cookies for children in the neighborhood.
At Innovative Psychiatry we love treating grandparents and watching them get a new lease on life. Of course, if they’re grieving losses, they can grieve while still enjoying life.
Ketamine treatment doesn’t prevent grief, which is a part of life. But ketamine can help them think through the grief in a healthy, healing way. And meanwhile, they can also enjoy their friends, family, and grandchildren.
Your Loved One Can Recover from the Heartbreak of Elderly Depression, and So Can You
Do you have a parent or grandparent who seems to have lost their joy for living? Maybe they’ve tried antidepressants but still seem serious, irritable, edgy… or bland, shut down, and without energy. Maybe you notice they don’t bathe very often anymore, and have lost interest in their appearance, or in things they normally love to do.
If this sounds familiar, and you have loved ones you hope can be helped by IV ketamine treatment, call us.
In fact, if this describes you, please call us and let us help you find your joy again.
IV ketamine treatment rapidly proliferates your brain circuits with an abundance of new synapse connections that make the way for restored creativity, emotion like joy, happiness, love…and hope. You want to do things you enjoy again.
Amazingly, this proliferation also increases emotional energy that can translate to more physical energy, too. Initiative and motivation increase, and joie de vivre abounds. Few phrases express what ketamine can do like this French phrase, which means “a cheerful enjoyment of life and exultation of spirit.”
If you have lost the song in your heart, you can have that restored. Some of our patients report waking up in the mornings singing.
How about you? Have you lost your song? IV ketamine treatment can restore it, and give you that, “Oh what a beautiful morning!” feeling.
It’s amazing to realize that people with joy and a song in their heart are that way because they have a LOT more synapses than others, isn’t it?
Let us help you and your mom find your songs again.
To the restoration of your best self,
Lori Calabrese, M.D.