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In a world where mental health is often stigmatized and misunderstood, having open and honest conversations about it can be a challenge. However, in a recent podcast episode, we had the privilege of exploring the topic of mental health with Brian, a compassionate counselor who specializes in working with the aging population. This episode was a heartfelt exploration of the struggles faced by aging adults and their families and the importance of creating a supportive environment for them.

Understanding the Isolation of Depression

One of the key points discussed is isolation often accompanies depression. Brian highlights the fact that individuals experiencing depression may not want to be babied or pitied but rather just want to be left alone. This isolation can further exacerbate their feelings of loneliness and despair. It is crucial for family members to understand this and find ways to support their loved ones without overwhelming them.

Supporting Aging Family Members

We also talk about the challenges faced by aging family members, particularly those dealing with physical issues. Brian shared the importance of taking an interest in their lives and valuing their wisdom. Many seniors feel a loss of purpose as they age, and it is up to their families to help them find new meaning and support them in accepting help when needed. It could be their love of books. Driving them to the library to pick out an old or a new series can make their day. Maybe they have missed cooking, so you help them create a meal they love to make and enjoy together. In Japan, they call it Ikigai! What gives your life purpose/meaning? Help your loved one find it and watch them smile.

The Power of Listening

One powerful aspect of the episode was the emphasis on the value of listening. Brian shared a touching story about his father-in-law, who just wanted someone to listen to him and share stories. This highlights the importance of valuing the elderly and their experiences, as they have a wealth of wisdom to offer. Erin, in her caregiving days, also agrees with the power of listening. We may not want to hear or think we may not have the time to hear another story or the same story over and over again, but it is important in how it makes our loved one feel. Notice, value, importance, and love, just to name a few. Taking the time to listen and engage with them can make a significant difference in their well-being. Remember Erin’s word “Fika”? Slow down and take the time for your loved ones. It will fill your soul, too, and memories will be created.

Seeking Help and Breaking the Stigma

Seeking help for mental health concerns. Brian encouraged family members to reach out and make that initial phone call to a counselor or therapist. Seeking help does not mean that someone is “crazy,” but rather that they are taking steps towards improving their mental well-being. It is essential to break the stigma surrounding mental health and create a safe space for individuals to seek the support they need. The great thing about technology is you never have to leave your safe space if you feel nervous/have anxiety. With computers and technology always evolving, Counselors and therapists are truly a finger push away with video calls. We encourage anyone who may need help or want to talk to someone to reach out. Don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Your life, Your choice.

This conversation is a heartfelt exploration of mental health, specifically focusing on the challenges faced by the aging population. It emphasized the importance of understanding, compassion, and open communication when supporting our loved ones. By valuing their experiences, listening to their stories, and seeking professional help when needed, we can create a supportive environment that promotes mental well-being for all. Let us continue to have these conversations with empathy and understanding, breaking down the barriers that prevent us from truly connecting with one another.

If you enjoyed this conversation with Brian as much as we did, you can visit his website at Osprey Counseling LLC, email him at, or reach him by phone at 208.912.7362. You can also find him on Facebook here and his LinkedIn profile here.

Don’t forget to share with your friends the tips you learned!

John & Erin