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How can I spot depression in elders?

Jun 8, 2018 by Stephen R

We all have days in which we are sad or have thoughts of hopelessness – but for many, it goes beyond that. Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is, by definition, a medical illness characterized by a chronic sense of sadness and loss of interest in activities. Depression can often dictate the way in which you feel, think, and act – and if not treated, it can lead to everything from alcohol and drug abuse to attempted suicide.

It’s estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression.  More than two million adults 65 years of age older are faced with depression of some kind. 

Signs of depression may be more obvious to spot in younger people, or even middle-aged adults; it’s easy to overlook them in older adults, as they’re often mistaken for other signs of aging. Studies show that when depressed, seniors may not clearly display typical signs of sadness such as crying. Instead, they tend to withdraw from the people they care about and the things they once loved to do.

Signs of Depression

 If you have a senior loved one who you fear may be facing depression, check for the following:

·       Irritability

·       Withdrawn:

·       Decrease in Cognitive Ability:

·       Increased Pain:

·      Digestive Problems

If you recognize the aforementioned signs in your senior loved one, don’t dismiss them. It’s important to talk to him or her about what he or she is feeling. Although you may receive some resistance initially, it’s important to let him or her know that you’re there to help. From there, it’s vital that you inform his or her primary health care provider or mental health expert to have symptoms assessed professionally.

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