Depression In The Elderly. Depression is a serious issue for the aging population. Its symptoms have an effect on every aspect of a senior’s life, including relationships, hobbies, work, sleep, and appetite. Unfortunately, many of the aging population fail to notice the signs and symptoms of depression or don’t do what they need to do in order to get what they need for their depression.
Why The Elderly Population Is Often Overlooked:
- The aging population may not want to ask for help or talk about their feelings
- Older people may not recognize that their medical complaints are evidence of depression
- The elderly may be isolated, which can lead to depression itself with not many people around to help
- The elderly may assume you have good reason to be depressed as you feel it is a normal part of the aging process
Signs and Symptoms Of Depression In The Elderly:
- Memory problems
- Loss of self-worth
- Sleep disturbances
- Neglecting personal care
- Slowed movement and speech
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Feelings of despair and sadness
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Fixation on death or thoughts of suicide
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
Many depressed elderly people seem to deny their sadness, instead they complain of physical problems, and decreases in motivation and energy, and so these types of complains, and especially physically ailments such as headaches or joint pain are often the principle symptoms indicating depression in seniors.
It’s essential to be aware that there are medical problems in the elderly that can cause depression, either as a psychological reaction to an illness or directly. Any chronic medical condition, especially if it is life threatening, disabling, or painful can make depressive symptoms worse.
Risk Factors That Increase Risk For Depression In Elderly:
- Heart attack
- Heart disease
- Thyroid disorders
- Multiple sclerosis
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
Depression Caused By Medication:
Certain medications have the side effect of depression, and this is one area where the elderly are more vulnerable, as they are more likely to be on a variety of prescriptions.
While the depression-related side effects of prescription medications can affect any person, the elderly are more delicate. It’s because, as they get older, their bodies become less efficient at processing and metabolizing medications.
Some Medications That Can Worsen Depression:
- Heart drugs
- Sleeping pills
- Beta blockers
- Ulcer medication
- Parkinson’s disease
- Calcium-channel blockers
- High cholesterol medication
- High blood pressure medications
- Painkillers and arthritis medication
If you feel bad after taking a new medication, speak with your doctor. You may be able to decrease the dose or the doctor may want you to change to another medication that doesn’t affect your mood.
Never assume that a loss of mental functioning is just common in the elderly. It could be evidence of dementia or depression, both of which are common in the aging population. They share some of the same symptoms, including decreased motivation, sluggish movements and speech, memory difficulties, and memory difficulties.
See a doctor right away, no matter if dementia or depression is at the root of cognitive decline.Memory, energy, and concentration can all be improved with treatment if the problems are caused by depression. Treatment for dementia can also improve quality of life, and in some cases, dementia symptoms can be well managed or even reversed.
If you are depressed, you might not want to do anything about it or see your doctor for it. However, disconnection and isolation only make things worse. The more engaged you are, physically, mentally, and socially, the better you will feel about yourself.
Some Ways You Can Feel Engaged and Connected Again:
Make Time For Laughing – Laughter is a good mood booster. Tell jokes and humorous stories with your friends and loved ones, read a funny book, or watch a comedy.
Learn a New Skill – Find something you always wanted to learn or that increases your imagination and creativity.
Volunteer Your Time – Helping others can give you a sense of purpose and can make you feel better about yourself.
Get Out In The World – Try not to stay at home all day. Have lunch with a friend, take a trip to the hairdresser, or go to a park. When you are depressed, it is difficult to do anything, as you have no motivation. However, what you do and how you spend your day has a significant impact on depression. The more you take care of yourself, the better you will feel.