More than 19 million Americans suffer from depression, regardless of race, age, or gender. Although it doesn’t have a part in the aging process, depression can still occur in seniors as they age. Seniors who suffer from the common disorder need elderly care services that meet their unique needs.
The Occurrence of Depression Among Aging Adults
Of the 34 million Americans aged 65 and older, over 2 million suffer from some kind of depression. The presence of debilitating or physical ailments could put aging adults at risk for the disorder.
For starters, 25 percent of the 600,000 people who suffered from stroke will experience clinical depression in a given year. Seniors who suffer from diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer have high rates of depression linked to them.
Physical problems and emotional issues are life events you cannot avoid when you’re growing older. These changes can make anyone feel anxious, sad, and depressed, although that doesn’t immediately mean clinical depression.
Identifying Clinical Depression in Seniors
Clinical depression, however, is never a normal response to life events that occur as people age. Depression is not the “blues” that people think it is either. But this serious medical illness has often been untreated and overlooked when it coincides with medical illnesses.
An individual who experiences one or more of the symptoms of depression for two weeks has clinical depression. The symptoms need to be extreme that they interfere with a person’s daily activities or social life.
Since seniors may develop clinical depression, here are the conditions or characteristics that may put older adults at a higher risk for the said illness, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH):
– Having a chronic medical illness
– Poor sleeping habits
– Having a disability
– Being lonely or socially isolated
– Using certain medications
– Having a brain disease
– Having a personal or family history of depression
– The death of a spouse
– Abusing alcohol or drugs
– Caring for someone with a chronic illness or other stressful life events.
The NIH further notes that women are at higher risk than men for depression.
Adults aged over 65 need to be more cautious when taking medication than younger adults, especially if they take certain medicines to treat other health issues.
Depression Among Older Adults is Not Inevitable
People think depression is inevitable as people age due to the occurrence of illnesses, loss of function, friends, and partners. But those who face such challenges are the ones who have good social support.
According to the National Institutes of Senior Health, most seniors feel satisfied with their lives amid the presence of illnesses or physical problems. Despite the difficult, sad, and stressful life events, many aging adults regain their emotional balance after a period of adjustment.
The aging process isn’t always an easy stage in life. As life goes on, a person will experience periods of grief and sadness linked to change or loss. Most people, however, can handle life changes without experiencing a persistent depressive disorder.