Depression can be a Heartbreaker

During the month of February, American Heart Month, McLaren Caro Region Senior Life Solutions is working to raise awareness of the connection between heart health and emotional health.

In 1964, February was declared American Heart Month to help bring awareness to heart disease, the number one killer of both men and women in America. Heart related health concerns come with many physical symptoms, ranging from chest pain or discomfort to shortness of breath. Cardiac patients also often experience depression after a heart attack, cardiac surgery, recent diagnosis of heart disease, or recent hospitalization. According to the Cleveland Clinic, up to 15 percent of patients with cardiovascular disease and up to 20 percent of patients who have undergone bypass surgery experience major depression.

Senior Life Solutions is an intensive outpatient group therapy program designed to meet the unique needs of older adults struggling with symptoms of depression and anxiety, stress from age-related health concerns, or difficult life transitions such as the loss of a loved one. Individuals may benefit from Senior Life Solutions if they are experiencing any of the following common indicators or triggers of depression and anxiety:

  • Recently experienced a traumatic event
  • Lost a spouse or close family member
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of energy
  • Feelings of sadness or grief lasting more than two weeks
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

Following an individual assessment, patients meet up to three times per week in a supportive, encouraging group setting. The program staff includes a board-certified psychiatrist, licensed social workers, a registered nurse, and other healthcare professionals dedicated to the emotional well-being of the seniors in our community.

Tracey Griggs, RN Program Director, said: “It is important to manage anxiety and stress because, if left untreated, they can increase the risk of an adverse cardiac event in people with heart disease. Additionally, untreated depression can increase the risk of a heart attack.”

Temporary feelings of sadness are normal for patients recovering from recent heart surgery, heart attack, or another heart or chronic health condition. If severe feelings of sadness or low mood continue for more than two weeks or result in withdrawal from activities or increased negative thoughts, it is time to seek help. For more information, call McLaren Caro Region Senior Life Solutions at (989) 672-5757.