Depression affects people of all ages.
Did you know that older adults are at an increased risk for experiencing depression?
Depression is not a normal part of the aging process. However, there is a likelihood of it occurring when there are other physical health conditions.
According to the CDC, 80% of older adults have at least one chronic health condition and 50% have two or more. Oftentimes, symptoms of depression are overlooked and go untreated when they coincide with other medical illnesses or life events that commonly occur as people age.
A study done by Mental health America found out that:
About 68% of older adults aged 65 and older know little to nothing about depression. This can be a reason why older adults do not talk about it when they see their healthcare providers or do not know how to explain their symptoms. Thus, not receiving proper treatment and intervention.
[Related: RECOGNIZING AND TREATING DEPRESSION IN OLDER ADULTS]
It is important to help older adults recognize symptoms of depression. These are some of the most common symptoms of depression according to the National Institute of Aging:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness, or having trouble sitting still
- Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Eating more or less than usual, usually with unplanned weight gain or loss
- 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
It is important to talk about depression and its symptoms no matter what age.
It is essential to be on the lookout for educating older adults about it. They need our attention and support especially if they are not aware of what depression is and what it can cause to their health.