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Depression in the elderly: information to recognise the signs

May, 2013

There are many changes that the elderly have to contend with; retirement, the death of friends or loved ones, medical problems and increased isolation and all of these factors can lead to depression.

Depression is a common problem in older adults and the elderly community. It prevents one from enjoying life like they used to. The effects of depression don’t rest with simply not feeling yourself, it can impact energy, sleep, appetite, relationships and physical health.

The medical advice for the elderly and those providing home care for elderly people is to make yourself and your elderly family members aware of the various symptoms, as with early detection depression can be treated effectively.

Symptoms: Has your elderly relative lost interest in the activities they used to enjoy? Do they struggle with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness? Are they finding it harder and harder to get through the day? If so, they are not alone.

Unfortunately, all too many depressed seniors fail to recognise the symptoms of depression, or don’t take the steps to get the help they need. There are many reasons depression in older adults and the elderly is so often overlooked:

  • They may assume you have good reason to be down or that depression is just part of aging.

  • They may be isolated—which in itself can lead to depression—with few around to notice their distress.

  • They may not realise that their physical complaints are signs of depression.

  • They may be reluctant to talk about their feelings or ask for help

Senior depression can be treated, and with the right support, treatment, and self-help strategies they can feel better and live a happy and vibrant life.

It’s not just circumstance that can lead to depression; there are actually numerous medications on the market, as well as illnesses themselves, which can lead to depression. Join us tomorrow as we take a closer look at both these possibilities.

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