Depression in the elderly is becoming an increasing problem in the United States. According to the National Institute of Health, of the 35 million Americans age 65 or older, 5 million suffer from varied forms of depression, while at least 2 million have severe depression.
Many people are not aware the condition exists and others believe that seniors have a reason to be down. It is important that our local communities are educated about this issue and take steps to help decrease the number of those that deserve assisted living who suffer with the illness.
One must recognize the signs and symptoms of depression. They include: fatigue, loss of appetite or weight gain, changes in personality or attitude, loss of self-worth, fixation on death, and social withdrawal or isolation, to name a few. Watch closely for these signs as often times they can be hard to detect if one is not aware of possibility that their loved one has depression.
Several factors can cause depression in the elderly. Loneliness, the recent loss of a loved-one, increased health problems, medications, and the fear of death can all lead to depression. Other depressed seniors may not show signs of sadness, but may become more irritable or anxious. Still, some seniors may just show physical signs of depression including increased physical pain or headaches.
Interestingly enough, the Department of Health and Human Services… Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality states that: â€œthe use of psychotherapy to assist with depression with adult elderly persons is a fraction of younger aged highly educated individuals. Only a minority of elderly with depression receive psychotherapy, despite its widely acknowledged efficacy.â€
There are steps one can take to help a depressed senior or to prevent the disease state all together. You can visit the senior often and give them the opportunity to talk about their feelings. Make sure they are eating proper meals and taking their medication as indicated. If you see warning signs of suicide, you will need to call a health professional to assist with this behavior.
Depression is a common ailment that can be prevented and treated. The key is to recognize the warning signs and offer care and assistance when needed.
Three Links Care Center