Not a natural part of ageing, depression in old age is a real and treatable medical disorder. Offer to accompany a loved one to a doctor’s office so they can be tested and treated if you are worried about them.
Depression is more than merely experiencing “the blues” or the feelings we have from losing a loved one. Like diabetes or hypertension, it is a real medical illness that is curable. The Health Capital always focuses on highlighting issues that are not talked about in the light. We are here with this blog to let every individual know that depression is a serious issue and it is okay to talk about it and how to deal with depression thoughts.
“You don’t have to control your thoughts. You just have to stop letting them control you.”— Dan Millman
Let’s unravel how depression takes over older people
Depression, a serious mood condition, is very prevalent among older people. It might affect the way you behave, feel, or think. Although it is a common problem, depression in old age and people is not a typical component of ageing. Research has revealed that the majority of elderly people are satisfied with their lives, even though they experience more illnesses or physical problems than younger people. However, if you’ve had depression in the past, you may be more prone to experiencing it again as an older adult.
Anxiety or melancholy that lasts for weeks are symptoms of depression. He or she might also go through-
- The absence of hope and/or pessimism
- Remorse, worthlessness, and/or hopelessness
- Anger and restlessness
- Loss of interest in once-enjoyable activities or hobbies
- Weakness and reduced energy
- Concentration, memory, and decision-making challenges
- Oversleeping, early morning vigilance, or insomnia
- Overeating or a lack of appetite
- Suicidal ideation and attempts
- Constant aches and pains, migraines, cramps, or stomach issues that do not improve even after treatment
Depression in Old Age
- Older folks are more vulnerable. We are aware that 50% of older persons have two or more chronic health conditions, with roughly 80% of them having one or more. People who also have other illnesses (such as cancer or heart disease) or whose function is restricted are more likely to experience depression in old age.
- Undertreatment and incorrect diagnoses are common in older persons. Healthcare professionals could disregard old age depression symptoms because they believe they are merely a normal response to disease or other changes in life that may come with ageing.
This notion is frequently held by older persons themselves, who frequently avoid seeking assistance because they do not realise that the right treatment could make them feel better and they do not believe in ageing and depression.
Suicide is more common among older people. 16.3 suicides occurred for every 100,000 adults aged 75 and older. The national average of 11.3 suicides per 100,000 persons is exceeded by this number. The highest suicide rate is found in non-Hispanic white men over 85: 55 per 100,000 individuals. In the previous month, several of these males went to their doctor.
Depression symptoms in women frequently coexist with another major condition. Heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer are a few examples of this.
Depression in old age is not a typical aspect of ageing but ageing and depression sort of come hand in hand. It’s a medical ailment that needs to be handled with caution and seriousness. Any person who suffers from it is dealing with a serious illness. Some demographics are more vulnerable. However, the typical older adult is not any more depressed than a young person. Out of the 39 million Americans over 65, 7 million suffer from dejection problems. Certain factors may increase the risk of depression in older people. Losing control over ageing-related changes is one of them. Also losing loved ones.
Depression in old age is frequently misdiagnosed. This is due to widespread misconceptions among families, carers, and even healthcare professionals that older persons are often more depressed. Older people may complain about a physical issue to mask their unhappiness. This makes diagnosis more challenging.
What is the most common cause of depression in older people?
Depression symptoms are more common and visible in older persons, although there is no single, identifiable reason. Seniors confront several distinct symptoms and risk factors in addition to dealing with many of the same pressures as younger individuals. Some of these risk factors include:
- Chronic diseases (According to the CDC, at least one chronic health problem affects 80% of older persons)
- Decreased capacity for function
- Diminished mobility
- Enduring pain
- Retirement-related monetary concerns
- Senior abuse
- Stress among caregivers’ Inactivity
- Bereavement, which has been connected to depression, is more common among older persons.
While melancholy may appear to go hand in hand, many depressed seniors assert that they do not experience any depressive thoughts at all. Instead, they could lament their lack of drive, vitality, or health issues. The primary indication of depression thoughts in the elderly is frequent physical depression symptoms, such as discomfort from arthritis or a worsening of headaches.
Symptoms of Depression in elderly
Knowing the warning signs and symptoms is the first step in identifying geriatric symptoms. Red signs of depression include:
- The decline in self-worth (worries about being a burden, feelings of worthlessness or self-loathing).
- Sluggish speech or action.
- Increased use of alcohol or other drugs.
- Memory issues.
- Disregarding personal hygiene (skipping meals, forgetting meds, neglecting personal hygiene)
- A sense of powerlessness or despair.
These symptoms of depression in the elderly are very much similar to those which happen to younger adults.
What is the most effective treatment for depression?
Making an appointment with your healthcare physician is the first step to take if you believe that you or someone you know may have depression. Your doctor can first exclude other potential offenders that might be the source of your depression symptoms. For instance, older persons may have a mental health problem or symptoms resembling the problem as a result of certain drugs and medical problems. You might be referred to a mental health specialist for additional assessment and treatment if it appears that there are no underlying medical conditions that are contributing to your depression.
When it comes to treating depression in older people, there is no one-size-fits-all method but treatment may include:
- Counselling: Counseling, often known as “talk therapy” or “psychotherapy,” can assist you in recognizing destructive thought patterns and changing your attitudes and behaviours to better manage obstacles in life. Usually, a qualified psychologist, psychiatrist, or another mental health specialist will conduct it with you. To have better results, counselling and antidepressant use are frequently combined.
How can mental health be treated in the case of depression in older people?
Depression generally cannot be avoided. However, there are actions you may take to improve your emotional stability and mental health:
- Get enough restful sleep: This is especially important for elderly folks. All irritation and depression thoughts can be brought on by sleep deprivation. Get seven to nine hours a night, ideally.
- Keep moving: Exercising can lift your spirits and fortify your heart and lungs. Likewise, you are not required to join a pricey gym. The best options for older individuals include brisk walking, swimming, and light yard work.
- Be social: Seniors are more likely to experience loneliness and social isolation, both of which might heighten their risk of developing the problem. Make an effort to maintain relationships with friends and family by keeping in touch with them. To help you develop a stronger sense of purpose while meeting new people, think about volunteering at a neighbourhood food bank or animal shelter.
- Eat well: A healthy, balanced diet is essential for older persons since they have specific nutritional needs. A healthy diet can give you more energy and help you avoid illnesses that could, in turn, make you more susceptible to sadness problem.
Mental Health Is A Serious Issue
Medical professionals look for depression symptoms that last for weeks on end. Your doctor will also perform a physical examination if you are exhibiting symptoms. They will eliminate any potential sources of the symptoms. These can include specific medications or medical issues. An underlying depression is frequently present in someone who is physically ill and not getting better.
It can be successfully treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. Psychotherapy alone may be able to treat mild forms of the problem. Antidepressant medication is frequently required for those with mild to severe mental health problems. After a person is symptom-free for six months to a year, it is important to follow up with them to ensure that they don’t experience another bout of the disease.
Maintaining an active lifestyle and maintaining relationships with others through family, neighbourhood activities, senior organisations, or a religious affiliation might help prevent depression.
Don’t wait until depression gets serious if you, a friend, or a family member exhibit any of the warning signs. Discuss your symptoms with your doctor. Alternatively, speak with the depressed person. Encourage them to consult a medical professional. also to receive care from a mental health professional.
The Health Capital Is Here With You At Every Step
The Health Capital is developed to help women find the best doctors and to prioritise the issues and solutions related to women’s health. Women and mental health have not been mentioned in the same sentence for many years. It was considered embarrassing and difficult to even discuss it. We are here to alter that viewpoint. We prioritize the health of our women and are here to listen to any issues you may be having, whether they are psychological, reproductive, sexual, hormonal, or lifestyle-related. We provide free health analysis tests so that no individual needs to feel lonely because we are in it together.
- 1. What is depression in older people?
For one to survive and prosper, one requires social relationships. But as people get older, they frequently discover that they spend more time alone. According to studies, social isolation and loneliness are linked to greater risks of depression.
- 2. Why is depression in old age so common?
According to WHO, “Depression is both underdiagnosed and undertreated in primary care settings.” It is also the most prevalent mental illness among elderly people and can result from social isolation or be a sign of dementia.
- 3. Does ageing and depression go hand in hand?
Ageing and depression do not necessarily go simultaneously. It is not a natural part of ageing, depression is a real and treatable medical disorder. However, depression is more likely to occur in older persons. Offer to accompany a loved one to a doctor's office so they can be tested and treated if you are worried about them.
- 4. Why do we get depressed as we get older?
Contrary to popular belief, anxiety and despair isn't a normal part of getting older, and nobody has to put up with them. In actuality, anxiety and mood disorders grow less prevalent as people age. However, elderly persons also have decreased detection rates. They are less inclined to seek help for mental health problems.
- 5. How to avoid depression in old age?
Depression in older people can be a little tricky to treat but not impossible. Here are something that you can encourage your loved one to do more often and make a part of their routine –
a. Exercise – Remain active. It might be just as successful at treating depression as antidepressants. Simple tasks like quick walks or modest housework can make a difference.
b. Maintain contact with others – Get out of the house, stay in touch via phone or email, or invite a friend or loved one to visit even if you don't feel like it. It's never too late to make new acquaintances or to find a community of like-minded individuals.
c. Get adequate rest – Each night, 7 to 9 hours should be gotten.
d. Eat nutritious meals and make it a point to steer clear of junk food and excessive sugar.
Find a nice comedy movie or book to read, look after a pet, or volunteer.
- 6. What causes depression in old age?
According to studies, social isolation and loneliness are linked to greater risks of depression.