Can following the news depress seniors?
So, should a senior allow an unrestrained, external source of information access to their emotional state?
In different words: When seniors follow the news on a regular basis, they engage with whatever the newscaster or news site feeds the audience. If a senior, or actually a person of any age, continually follows the news, they can become connected to what they are hearing/seeing.
Connecting Emotionally to News
If news is good, a person can respond appropriately. Responding kindly to good news multiplies the good feelings for the person sharing the news and for the listener.
But when you hear the news on the radio, or on the TV, on a phone or news website, there often is no way to respond appropriately. We tend to share the news with the next person, “Did you hear what happened in such and such a place?” This can magnify the negative feelings.
Depression in Seniors
Do the statistics show that seniors are more prone to depression than younger people?
Seniors are more sensitive to food, medicines and maybe also events on the news.
Following the News can Upset the Balance
Following the news could disrupt the balance, the equilibrium, that should be found in healthy senior living. Why can following the news depress seniors? The news is usually constructed and delivered in a psychologically pointed manner.
Deborah Serani Psy.D. in her article called “If it bleeds, it leads” makes the following points:
- News is presented in the most attention-grabbing manner possible, so that people will follow that channel or site avidly. Site-ratings will increase, and advertisers will want to advertise on that medium. Profit is the driving factor.
- News companies choose their words really carefully, using “media logic”, to make each sentence have the greatest impact it can.
- Anxiety and even depression are brought about by the “crawl” – a scrolling headline at the bottom of the screen. The mind automatically focusses on this, since it supposedly presents really, but really, important information. However, some viewers are bombarded by too much visual stimulation.
- People who regularly follow the news – both adults and children – believe that their world is a more dangerous place, worry that they could become a victim and feel that there is more crime in the world and in their neighborhood.
Seniors Can Try to Limit Depression from Following the News
The news will, most likely, continue to include depressing items, crime, and vicious and undesirable behavior.
So here are tips to:
- Return mental self-control to the listeners and viewers
- Help a senior maintain equilibrium in their emotional state
- Get common sense – what to do when things annoy you
Media Control Tips
- Check the news not more than once or twice a day. Keep to the same source, same time for the news each day.
- Count two blessings in your life each time you hear the news.
- Every so often tune out of the world of media – an electronic free day.
- For news, favor the following sources: News in print, or headline news channels and those without adverts.
- If the media is overwhelming – use the off button; change the channel or website.
- Feel comfortable to tell a news-sharer if you have heard enough details.
- If the news is relevant to your safety, deal with the related anxiety in a healthy way. Don’t use alcohol or other ‘naughties’ to manage stress.
- If you do feel stress or anxiety, connect to other people, such as family members or friends. They can help you look at the news event with a sense of proportion and truth.
Finally, Some Good News…
Although that we have presented the case that following the news can depress seniors, we hope that it will not.
Not everything which is presented as a catastrophe, is really so bad. In fact, many times, a challenge is a precursor for something much better.
Can following the news depress seniors? It could. But every person has to know their limits and exercise hope. Hope is an endless, powerful tool for every person. We live in an incredible and complex world. Many parts of the world need fixing up. Yet there are many beautiful parts of the world too. A person can learn to focus on the good parts in their world and get a positive frame of mind.