Depression and Older Adults
Although common among older adults, depression is NOT a normal part of aging. It is a mood disorder that affect how one feels, thinks, and completes day to day activities, such as sleeping, eating, and working. Although there are many causes and types of depression, symptoms can be hard to recognize in older adults.
Significant life changes can result in periods of depression Research reveals that most older adults feel satisfied with their lives, despite having more illnesses or physical problems. However, important life changes that happen as we get older may cause feelings of uneasiness, stress, and sadness. In addition to being difficult to identify in seniors.
- The most common signs of depression include:
- Persistent sense of anxiety, sadness, or emptiness.
- Feelings of worthlessness, helpless and/or hopelessness.
- Irritability, restlessness and sleep wake cycle that
- Loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyed.
- Fatigue, excessive sleeping and reduced
- Walking and talking slower than usual
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering and problem-solving.
- Loss of or an increased appetite resulting in unintended weight gain or loss.
- Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities, including sex
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease with treatment
- Frequent crying
Individuals who experience symptoms of depression for more than two weeks should see a primary healthcare provider for a thorough evaluation. There are many causes of depression and it is crucial to identify causes, determine optimal treatment options and learn caring techniques for individuals working with older adults with depression.