Clinical depression in the elderly is common. Although, that doesn't mean it's normal.
Late-life depression affects about six- million Americans age 65 and older, but only ten percent receive treatment for depression. The likely reason is that the elderly often display symptoms of depression differently.
Depression in the elderly is also frequently confused with the effects of multiple illnesses and the medicines used to treat them.
In addition, advancing age is often accompanied by loss of social support systems due to the death of a spouse or other family members, retirement, or relocation of residence. Due to the changes in an elderly person's circumstances and the fact elderly people are expected to slow down, doctors and family may miss the signs of depression. As a result, effective treatment often gets delayed, forcing many elderly people unnecessarily struggle with depression.
- Factor increasing the risk of depression in the elderly include:
- Loss of support
- Health problems
- Presence of chronic or severe pain
- Previous history or family history of depression
- Recent loss of a loved one
- Change of residence
- Loss or increase in appetite and/or sleep
- Multiple somatic complaints
- Unexplained or aggravated aches and pains
- Lack of motivation and energy
- Slowed movement and speech
- Loss of interest in socializing and hobbies
Depressions can be debilitating and everyone at Western Trail Behavioral Heath are there to help.