Depression in Seniors
The aging process brings many joys, such as seeing children and grandchildren grow, having more time to spend on leisure activities and hobbies, and focusing on the parts of life that matter most. But for 18% of adults aged 65 or older, depression looms as an ever present threat to steal those joys. Depression is a treatable medical condition and should never be considered a normal part of aging. While aging may make treatment complicated, relief from symptoms is always possible.
Depression goes beyond simply feeling sad and is in reality a mood disorder that affects the way you think, feel, and act. It can impact personal relationships, quality of life, and longevity. Symptoms can be mild or severe, and can cause feelings of sadness and a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. Other symptoms can include
- Changes in appetite or weight, either a weight loss or a gain, and unrelated to intentional dieting.
- Changes in sleep patterns, either not sleeping enough or sleeping too much.
- Loss of energy
- Restlessness or inability to sit still
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness.
- Difficulty in thinking clearly, concentrating, or making decisions.
- Thoughts of self harm or suicidal ideation, or a desire to disappear or not be around
Compared to older age groups, seniors with untreated depression are far more likely to experience episodes of fatigue, bigger fluctuations in sleep and/or appetite, and difficulties with cognitive functioning.
Even sadder, suicide is a very real concern among older adults, with rates among older men being particularly high, In fact, men aged 85 or older have the highest suicide rate out of all groups in the USA.