Recognizing and Understanding Depression in Seniors

March 28, 2017

mid-stage alzheimer's

Depression is one of the most common illnesses faced people all age groups across the United States. Sometimes, however, it goes completely undetected and therefore, untreated. There are known challenges in recognizing and understanding depression in order to treat it in a timely, positive, and medically appropriate way. Identifying the signs of depression and getting the right kind of help can make a huge different in a senior’s quality of life.

Symptoms of depression may include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to concentrate or lapses in memory
  • Withdrawal or uncommon lack of interest in socializing and/or participating in typical activities
  • Disturbances in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Neglect to one’s physical appearance
  • Extensive preoccupation with aches and pains

Various things can cause depression, such as the loss of a loved one, a change in circumstances, or a health problem. A number of different illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease, hormonal disorders, or a stroke, can cause physical changes, which may limit activities and/or mobility and cause depression. Side effects of certain medications can also lead to a person feeling depressed.

As important as it is to determine what the cause of depression is, it is also important to make sure the person’s symptoms are not confused with another medical disorder.

There are several approaches to treating depression, and talking with a mental health professional to have them help determine the origin of the depression as well as suggest some coping techniques, is vital. Suggestions may include: an increase or change in activities, talking things through to get it out and also to come up with ways to improve self-esteem and mental outlook, and medications have also proven effective in treating depression.

An important first step is in recognizing symptoms, understanding depression, and addressing the issue in order to help correct it and improve the seniors quality of life, helping them to return to a happier and more fulfilling life. With support from family, friends and healthcare providers, depression is very treatable.