Depression is a common problem among older adults, but it is not a normal part of aging. Certain life experiences that happen as we get older such as the death of a loved one, moving from work into retirement, or dealing with a serious illness, can leave people feeling sad or anxious. Many times, these experiences may cause feelings of uneasiness, stress, and sadness, and after a period of adjustment many older adults can regain their emotional balance. But some adults do not regain their emotional balance and may develop Depression.
Depression in older adults can be difficult to recognize because they may show different symptoms than younger people. For some older adults with Depression, sadness is not their main symptom. They may have other, less obvious symptoms of Depression, or they may not be willing to talk about their feelings.
The following signs and symptoms must be present most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with Depression:
Research suggests that the following may contribute to Depression:
Some physical health conditions, such as an overactive thyroid or low blood sugar, as well as taking certain medications, may worsen an anxiety disorder. A thorough mental health evaluation is important as anxiety disorders often coexist with other related conditions, such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder.
IDCC offers mental health professionals who have experience with the special physical, emotional, and social needs of older patients that allows for a comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment. Such care includes listening and responding to the concerns of the older adult, helping families, and when necessary, working with other health care professionals to develop effective approaches to treatment.
Co-existing medical illnesses, medications, and family issues are all aspects that need to be taken into consideration when treating older adults who are experiencing mental illness. IDCC clinicians use their expertise and experience to create a treatment process that integrates a comprehensive program of care, making full recovery attainable.
Effective treatment of Depression in older adults may require more than one approach and many times may use a number of the following therapies:
Lifestyle changes: Daily exercise, healthy eating habits, and increasing social support are all important in helping elderly patients with Depression.
Friends and family members can help by doing the following: