Recognizing Signs Of Depression In The Elderly

One in five Americans aged 65 and older are affected by depression. That means over 20 percent of the aging population is affected, making recognizing signs of depression in the elderly increasingly important.

Although the rate of depression in the elderly population is relatively high, that does not mean that it is a normal part of aging. Depression can affect anyone, at any age, but there are several risk factors that put older adults at higher risk.

Risk Factors For Depression In Older Adults

  1. Difficult life events and changes in personal circumstances
  2. Losing loved ones and friends
  3. Loneliness and isolation
  4. Lack of social support
  5. Pain and physical illness
  6. Being a victim of crime or abuse
  7. Financial crisis
  8. Family history or past episodes of depression
  9. Moving accommodations
  10. Alcohol abuse
  11. Over medicating

Recognizing the risk factors for older adults allows you to realize when a loved one might be at risk for depression, and to be able to prevent possible negative repercussions. As the risk factors vary with different age groups, it is important to be familiar with the factors for older adults specifically. Elderly people also display symptoms of depression differently than younger adults, so it is also important to recognize age-specific symptoms of depression.

Symptoms Of Depression In Older Adults

  1. Psychotic Symptoms
    1. Delusions
    2. Auditory hallucinations
    3. Catatonic features
  2. Cognitive Symptoms
    1. Disorientation
    2. Memory loss
    3. Poor concentration
    4. Easily distracted
    5. Apathy
  3. Behavioral Symptoms
    1. Feeling melancholy
    2. Anorexia or excessive eating
    3. Insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns
    4. Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
    5. Thoughts of suicide
    6. Anergia
    7. Inappropriate feelings of guilt
    8. Pyschomotor retardation
    9. Note: sometimes medications can cause some of these same symptoms

Depression is a serious illness, and whether it affects people young or old, the condition's many symptoms make it very difficult for the individual to overcome it, or find a way out on their own. While depression affects around 6 million Americans aged 65 and over, only about 10 percent actually receive treatment. Perhaps this is because risk factors and symptoms are different in older adults and make recognizing the disease more difficult. Another factor could be the fact that seniors were raised in a generation when the disease was a stigma, and are afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.

Given the fact that depression can increase the risk for other serious diseases in older adults, it is important to make every effort to recognize and help get treatment for a loved one suffering. If you are caring for a depressed elderly person, you can make a difference by supporting them emotionally and making a point to be involved in their lives. Although you might not have the answer to fix their situations, sometimes just listening and giving support, companionship and love is enough to make a difference.

However, if you feel any concern, don't hesitate to contact a medical doctor for help and support. Also, if you are concerned about your loved one feeling isolated or lonely, and you don't have the chance to be around as much as you would like, you could consider a professional care provider. American In-Home Care, providers of senior home care Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and throughout Florida, refers care providers that can perform many useful duties, and provide companionship and excitement for your loved one, so you don't have to worry. Call toll-free at 1-844-505-0004 to schedule a free consultation to discuss all of your options and find a care provider that is right for you and your loved one.