Having the conversation with older adults

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Speaker 1: My sister has had depression. It can be difficult for families to bring it up. They may be fearful of upsetting their loved ones. It's very difficult for all of us, not only the sufferer, but also the members of the family that may recognise it.

Speaker 2: Your family, your grandchildren, your children look up to you. The last thing you want is to be a burden on your family.

Speaker 3: You might be concerned not to burden them, so you don't talk to them, and so the conversation doesn't happen.

Speaker 4: Well, I've watched this friend slowly withdrawing more and more. I started hearing that some of his close friends were really worried about him, and I started seeing the gradual decline in his ability to be optimistic about anything.

S1: They feel ashamed, and then, of course, there's this age barrier that carries with it respect and disinclination to broach topics that are too abrasive.

S4: I started thinking, "It's too awful to watch somebody just becoming less and less themselves. "I felt very compassionate towards him, and I just thought if I had a chance, even a short amount of time, to just say, "I'm concerned about how you're being." Maybe there are a few people who can step into that spot, and maybe this is the opportunity for me to do something about it.

S4: We were talking about football, and I remember he said something like, "I don't actually care that much anymore." And so, I just knew I had an in.

S1: We came together as brother and sister, people that love each other dearly. It was just an immediate progress. We moved forwards right from the outset. "I care for you. I'm worried about you. I want us to work this through. I'm not sure what it is, but I think there might be something that we can do together."

S4: I was very careful to be respectful, and if I got any sense of him being uncomfortable, I'd back off. I followed it up each time I saw him after that when he was receptive, when I felt like there was a good opportunity. Each time, there'd be a little bit more clarity about what he was dealing with. From talking to me intermittently, he got the impetus to make those steps.

S4: I just thought if I keep reminding him and telling him that there is something he could do, he can always just make a call, make an appointment, and talk to someone.

S2: It's actually really given me confidence that I can talk about it and not feel embarrassed or ashamed or anything like that.

S4: If you think you're the sort of person who could do that and be respectful of them and not judgemental of them, and you feel interested enough and willing to put yourself in that position where you could be able to talk to them and ask them if they're OK, it could be that you are the only person.

S1: Every minute in that black hole is a wasted minute. So, the benefits are really enormous.

S4: It did make a difference, and I'm very grateful that I did it, and I would hope I would do it again.

S4: I don't know... You just realise how beautiful people can be. And yeah. Yeah.

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