Depression in Seniors: Warning Signs and Treatment Options

Senior Care in Glendale CO

It’s important to understand that while depression is common in seniors, it’s not a normal part of getting older. According to WebMD, around 6 million seniors experience depression late in life, Senior Care in Glendale COyet only 10% of them receive the treatment they need.

Depression is different for the elderly. In older adults, depression often comes with other disabilities and medical illnesses, and unfortunately, it’s often confused for other problems. Older adults are also at a higher risk of experiencing depression, and it often lasts longer in seniors than it does in younger adults.

Warning Signs of Depression in Seniors

It’s important for elder care professionals and family members to recognize the warning signs of depression in the elderly. Some of the common warning signs include:

  • Losing interest or abandoning favorite activities or hobbies
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Problems falling asleep, daytime sleepiness, oversleeping, or difficulty staying asleep
  • Sadness
  • Social isolation or withdrawal
  • Fatigue
  • Fixation on death
  • Feelings of helplessness and/or hopelessness
  • Lack of energy and motivation
  • Irritability
  • Unexplained pain or sickness
  • Slowed speech or movement
  • Worrying or anxiety

While sadness is one of the big warning signs of depression, many elderly people claim that they are not sad. Depression can still occur in seniors that aren’t sad, but they may have other physical complaints, such as headaches or pain.

Causes of Depression in Seniors

Growing older often brings about significant life changes that put the elderly at risk for depression. Some of the potential causes of depression in seniors include:

  • Isolation and Loneliness – Dealing with a dwindling social circle, decrease mobility, or the loss of their driving privileges often results in isolation and loneliness in seniors.
  • Fear – The fear of health issues, death, or financial issues are a common cause of depression in seniors.
  • Health problems – Chronic pain, illnesses, disability, and cognitive decline may result in an increased risk for depression among older adults.
  • Loss of Identity – Many older adults deal with limitations or changes in routine that make them feel as if they have lost their identity.
  • Bereavements – The deaths of pets, friends, family members, or a spouse often increases the risk of depression in the elderly.

Treating Depression in the Elderly

When treating senior depression, every patient is unique. Seniors require customized treatment plans that meet their individual circumstances and needs. Common treatment options include medications and therapy.

If a senior displays the warning signs of depression, it’s essential to address this issue quickly. Talk to the doctor or other health professional as soon as possible to ensure that treatment is started immediately. With the proper treatment, elderly adults can see significant improvement.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring senior care services near Glendale, CO, please contact Visiting Angels at 303-232-9999.

Source
http://seniorliving.about.com/od/seniordepression/a/senior_depress.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/aging/mentalhealth/depression.htm

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-in-older-adults-and-the-elderly.htm

http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-elderly

About Greg Elliott

Greg Elliott founded the Visiting Angels’ office in 2008 after a successful, twenty year career in pharmaceutical sales and management. The original office was located in Lakewood, and has since been relocated to Wheat Ridge to accommodate our ever-expanding team.

“Our goal is to allow Seniors to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. The service that we provide is truly rewarding, and I love the time I get to spend meeting Seniors in our community.”

Greg is a proud graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. He currently resides in Arvada, and loves spending time with his wife and son and their Australian Shepherd . When not at the office, Greg enjoys travel, skiing, golf and fly-fishing.

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