If you would keep filling our minds with the picture of happy things ahead, many worries and anxieties, and perhaps ill health, would naturally. melt away....Always expect the best. Then if you have to hurdle a few tough problems, you will have generated the strength and courage to do so. -George Matthew Adams
This article provides education on depression in seniors. It discusses the following.
How to recognizing depression in seniors or yourself
How depression differers in older adults
How to find help.
According to the CDC, "Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older."
Depression is true
Depression is a treatable condition
Depression is not just having the blues
Depression is not the emotions we feel when grieving the loss of love ones
Depression is a true medical condition that is treatable, like diabetes of hypertension
How Do I Know if it's Depression
Someone who is depressed has feelings of sadness or anxiety that last for weeks at a time. He or she may also experience-
Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and /or helplessness
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
Fatigue and decreased energy
Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Overeating or appetite loss
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment
How is Depression Different for Older Adults
According to the CDC
Older adults are at increased risk. We know that about 80% of older adults have at least on chronic health condition, and 50% have two or more. Depression is more common in people who also have illnesses (such as heart disease or cancer) or whose function becomes limited.
Older adults are often misdiagnosed and underrated. Healthcare providers may mistake an older adult's symptoms of depression as just a natural reaction to illness or the life changes that may occur as we age, and therefore not see the depression as something to be treated. The article goes on to say that older adults themselves often share this belief and do not seek help because they don't understand they could feel better with appropriate treatment.
How Many Older Adults are Depressed
The CDC reports, "The majority of older adults are not depressed. Some estimates of major depression in older people living in the community range from less than 1% to about 5% bur rise to 13:5% in those who require home healthcare and to 11.5% in older hospitalized patients" (CDC.gov).
How Do I Find Help
Most older adults see an improvement in their sysmptoms when treated with antidepression drugs, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. If you are concerned about a loved one being depressed, offer to go with him or her to see a health care provider to be diagnosed and treated.
What Do I Do If Someone Or Yourself Are In Crisis
Visit a nearby emergency department or your health care provider's office
Call the toll-free, 24 hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1800-273-8255); TTY: 2800-799-4TTY (4889) to take to a trained counselor.
National Institute on Aging, Depression and Older Adults (www.nia.nih.gov)
National Institute on Mental Health, Older Adults and Depression (www.nimh.nih.gov)
PEARLS Toolkit (Program to Encourage Active, Rewarding Lives) CDC, University of Washington Prevention Research Center (www.cdc.gov)
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and mental Health Services Administration) (www.samhsa.gov)
Your Health Care Needs Matter for more information visit
Article information from the CDC
Carolyn Coleman Grady, RN, BSN Founder