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Geriatric Depression

Depression is often a natural part of our emotional canvas, one of many emotions that we can experience within normal parameters. You may have a bad day at work and feel a bit depressed. You may have had plans that got cancelled and you ended up feeling disappointed and a bit sad. Ultimately, the point is that it is normal to feel some depression now and then, and it can be determined by not only our circumstances, but also what we eat, our environment and other outside factors.

When it comes to severe or clinical cases of depression and their associated symptoms, however, we more often than not think of it as something that adolescents might suffer from, or adults. We tend to forget that seniors and geriatrics can suffer from depression just as much as you and me; in fact, it is more common than one would think! In the latter stages of life, there can be multiple factors that can lead to geriatric depression; this mental health issue can create symptoms that are mild in nature to symptoms that can completely make an elderly individual unable to deal with their daily lives.

One of the first things to address is realizing that having depression is not a sign of weakness – people might mistakenly assume that just because a man or woman has lived 60, 70, 80 or 90 years, that there is nothing else that could possibly bother them after all they have experienced throughout their long life.  In fact, some of the main reasons that depression in seniors is overlooked are for reasons such as these:

  • The assumption that they might have a reason to be depressed for the simple fact that they are aging.
  • Older individuals tend to be more isolated, and isolation can cause an increase of depression symptoms if one is not aware of the signs.
  • Physical complaints and ailments can also be signs of depression

Sometimes an elderly individual may just be reluctant to talk about their particular depression symptoms; whatever the reason, it is important to understand that depression can happen with the elderly, it is ok to have it and that there are answers.

Some of the more common symptoms are:

  • Feelings of despair or sadness
  • Changes in one’s eating habits, with either weights loss or weight gain
  • Memory problems and trouble focusing
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Feeling far less motivated, as well as drained of energy

These are just some of the signs to be aware of in the elderly. If you are caring for a senior such as a parent, relative or friend, it would be useful to learn some of these symptoms. In addition, if you yourself are a senior, and are unsure if you have been suffering from depression, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to your local mental health facility for a screening. Palms Behavioral Health in fact offers a free and confidential evaluation. Depression can affect millions of individuals across the country each year; don’t hesitate to take the step for treatment today!

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