Battling Depression With Companionship

BERLIN — Media reports, often driven by pharmaceutical companies, would have you believing there’s an epidemic of clinical depression among virtually every population from children and teens, to adults and seniors.

While there’s no denying that the number of people suffering from depression is large and spans all ages, too many people with quite normal sadness brought on by grief, loneliness, or other situational issues are treated as if they have a permanent chemical imbalance.  

"There is a correlation, or relationship, between seniors who suffer from depression and seniors living alone.  Companionship, for even a few hours a day may be as effective as anti-depressant medications in helping someone through and beyond any period of pain and suffering,” said Tyler Betz, director of Visiting Angels, a home care company that helps seniors maintain their independence at home. 

Betz agrees there’s nothing wrong with the use of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications for shorter-term treatment during periods of grief, but adding additional medication to a daily regimen of other medications is clearly not the best long-term solution.

“There’s an important difference between simply living without anxiety and depression vs. actually living with some amount of happiness, interest and joy,” says Betz. “Medications may mask our anxiety and pain, but they certainly do not necessarily create new opportunities for a happier existence.”

His company Visiting Angels provides compassionate caregivers that help seniors and disabled adults in their own home.  Services such as personal care, light housekeeping, meal preparation, errands, and transportation, help people stay independent and safe at home, but it’s the companionship, Betz says, that his “angels” provide that really adds to a person’s joy in life.

“Just a few hours a day, or even a few hours a week, can make all the difference to somebody living alone, especially those who had a spouse or other companions throughout their lives,” says Betz.

Betz says his “angels” are chosen not only for their experience and skills, but also for their compassion and kindness.

“We listen to families’ needs and preferences and do our best to pair proper personality types. The personal connection between our “angels” and our clients is just as important as the personal services they provide,” he said.

From a few hours a week, to overnight care, Visiting Angels’ compassionate caregivers can help. Tyler Betz can be reached at 443 513-4149; email tbetz@visitingangels.com or at www.visitingangels.com/BerlinEasternShore

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