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Is Your Elderly Loved One Suffering from Depression?

Many seniors suffer from depression, a debilitating mental illness. A common myth is that depression is just a natural part of aging - not true. Clinical depression is a mental illness that can affect anyone. Depression can also worsen other physical maladies. Depression does not manifest the same for every age group, though, so you might not have noticed or recognized the symptoms. shares common symptoms of depression.

  • Disturbed Mood
    • Anxiety, panic attacks
    • Irritability
    • Sadness, "feeling blue”
  • Disturbed Perception
    • Apathy
    • Withdraw from usual activities
    • Feelings of guilt
    • Feelings of worthlessness
    • Irrational anxieties or fears
    • Behavioral Changes
    • Increased or decreased movement (they appear either agitated or lethargic)
    • Restlessness: repetitive movements like ringing hands or pacing
    • Disturbed sleep pattern: insomnia, problems staying asleep
    • Changes in appetite
    • Self-isolation
    • Difficulty making decisions or concentrating
    • Preoccupied with thoughts of death and/or dying

Depression is sometimes mistaken as grief, but the duration and the symptoms distinguish the two. A grieving person might feel sad, lose weight, or have trouble sleeping; a grieving person will not experience feelings of worthlessness, become lethargic, or the other more severe symptoms of depression.

Often times older adults experience depression as a physical illness. states that chronic headaches, stomach issues, and general fatigue are often seen in depressed seniors.

Mental health is every bit as important as physical health. If you think that you or your loved one might be depressed, contact your primary care provider for a screening.

Depression is a very treatable illness, but you must face it to beat it.

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