Depression among the elders (referred to as elderly or geriatric depression) continues to be a growing public health concern in the United States. As a matter of fact, a recent research suggests that as many as six million elderly Americans live with depression. Aztek Nursing Registry, Inc, a Health Care in Miami, FL, dwells more on this topic in this post. Here are six things you should know about elderly depression:
- Depression in elders is usually different in younger adults.
Oftentimes, depression in the elderly occurs with other medical illnesses and disabilities. For one, depression increases the risk of seniors getting a heart attack or stroke. Another significant difference is that seniors do not experience depression in the same way as young people do. Seniors with depression often report experiencing more physical and cognitive difficulties.
- Depression is more than just a feeling of sadness.
All of us experience sadness from time to time. Depression is more than that. It is a feeling of profound sadness, which lasts for more than six months. It is also accompanied by other warning signs and symptoms, such as the following:(a) Losing interest in things they used to love
(b) Social isolation and/or withdrawal
(c) Drastic weight loss or weight gain
(d) Not feeling worthy of one’s self
(e) Extreme mood swings
(f) Chronic pain
(g) Impaired or slowed thinking
(h) Sleeping problems
- Depression is neither a natural part of aging or a normal response to stress.
Only a few elders with depression seek treatment for their condition. One of the reasons is that seniors and their family misidentify depression as a natural part of aging or just a normal response to stress. As a consequence, seniors are compelled to battle with their condition alone. Untreated depression can lead to far-reaching consequences like suicide.
- Depression has several risk factors.
The causes of depression are sometimes difficult to pinpoint. However, psychologists say that it can be due to a lot of factors. The most common risk factors for elderly depression are lack of social support, certain medications, recent loss of a partner or any loved one, and physical conditions, such as dementia and stroke.
- Depression is not for the weak.
Once and for all, we have to stop this false association. Everyone should know by now that depression does not discriminate. Just like it can happen to both the young and the old, it can also happen to both the weak and the strong.
- Depression is treatable.
The good news is that depression is not permanent. There are treatments available to help seniors overcome it. One way is to provide elders with companionship. You can get that here at Aztek Nursing Registry, Inc.
Do not forget to spend some time with your elderly loved one—whether they be your mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa. Can you think of any fun activities you can do with them? Feel free to comment your ideas in the comment section.