Depression in older adults is so common that sometimes it is taken as a normal occurrence in the process of aging. However, it’s crucial to know that depression is neither an inevitable part of getting old nor a character flaw.
Late-life depression varies widely depending on a number of factors. While there are many changes that can trigger depression in old age such as retirement, health decline, and losing loved ones, you don’t have to let that keep you down. There’re steps you can take to regain your joy and hope and make your golden years happier and healthier.
How Can You Recognize The Signs Of Depression In The Elderly?
The foremost step to recognizing depression in seniors is noting down the red flags. To determine if you or your loved one is suffering from depression, check for the exhibition of suggestive symptoms such as:
- Loss of interest in things you use to like
- The feeling of helplessness and despair
- Aggravated pains and aches
- Loss of appetite
- A strong feeling of grief
- Low energy and motivation
- Lack of sleep or oversleeping
- Worthlessness and suicidal thoughts
- Memory loss
- Drug abuse
What Are The Causes Of Depression In Older Adults?
There are several risk factors that increase the chances of falling into dark pit despair. Among many others, let’s look at the major aspects and how they contribute.
Health problems. Medical issues can either cause depression in seniors directly or as a reaction due to psychological alterations due to illnesses. Diseases like cancer, stroke and diabetes are life-threatening, painful, or disabling and can lead to or worsen an already present depression.
Side effects of medication. Seniors are more sensitive to drugs since the efficiency of our bodies in processing drugs goes down as age advances.
Loneliness. Such factors as living in isolation, diminishing social circle due to relocation or death, and physical limitations are likely to trigger depression.
Low sense of purpose. As much as retirement is meant to reduce the pressures of work, it can bring loss of status, identity, financial security, and confidence, which can be a cause of depression.
Bereavements and fears. The demise of a loved one or cherished pet causes a lot of misery to the elderly. Fear of death and deteriorating health status also elicit depression.
Are There Self-Help Ways That Older Adults Can Use To Overcome Depression?
Our brains never stop adjusting to learn new things or make new changes in lifestyle. Just like young people, elders are capable of adapting to fresh ideas that can help to overcome depression. Although it can be hard for a depressed person to take any action towards self-help, small steps each day will take you closer to recovering from depression.
Reach out and stay connected. Maybe you don’t want to see anybody, but isolation will only worsen your state. Make efforts to reduce alone time and connect with others.
Find a purpose in life. Even before old age, you had have things that formally occupied your life. To defeat depression, find other fun things that keep your life engaged.
Develop healthy habits. Taking good care of your body makes you feel better. Eat healthy, exercise, and get quality sleep.
Seek professional help. Getting depression treatment and therapies that address issues of the elderly is an idea worth considering.
Are There Available Treatments For Depression In Seniors Citizens?
Treatment options for depression in older people include counseling, medicine, electroconvulsive therapy, psychotherapy, and brain stimulation methods like Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (RTMS).
Recommendation of an option depends on aspects like rigorousness of the symptoms, previous treatment, and other health conditions. A combination of more than one treatment option may be used. Support from close friends and family, support groups, and self-help are other sources of support systems that offer much assistance.
Psychotherapy is beneficial, especially for those who have gone through major life traumas like loss of close people, serious health problems, or relocations. It’s used along with antidepressant drugs. Where symptoms are severe, electroconvulsive therapy is recommended.
If you have a depressed elderly you can help them by suggesting activities to do together, regular visits, invites out, preparing good meals for them and supporting them to get necessary treatment
Are There Issues That Affect Treatment Of Depression In Older Adults?
The stigma that comes with psychological illness and mental treatments is common among the elderly. This keeps them from acknowledging that they have depression.
Due to the helplessness of depression sysmptoms, older people may choose not to report what they go through for the wrong belief that there is no hope for their predicaments.
Alcohol and drug abuse among the elderly is another factor that worsens the state of depression and interferes with treatment. Motivation to get through treatment can as well be affected by the side effects or sorrowful life events like isolation, poverty and being bereaved
No matter the age, background, or life accomplishments, depression in old age can happen to anyone. It’s symptoms affect your life in all aspects; it impacts your relationships, interests, hobbies, energy, sleep, and appetite. Unfortunately, only 10% of the elderly who are affected by depression receive treatment.
Older adults who are depressed fail to seek help or even recognize the signs. It is often confused with multiple illnesses and medicines used in treatment. Getting over depression entails adapting to new lifestyles, staying active, enjoying new things, connecting with loved ones, and seeking professional assistance.