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How To Spot Depression With Older People


Depression has a different effect on older people while it is not the same case with the younger generation. With older people, depression occurs together with other disabilities and medical illnesses, and it tends to run longer.

With older people, depression can increase their risk of cardiac arrest. Also, depression halters a senior’s ability to get well or rehabilitate. Research done with nursing home points out that patients with physical illnesses at the same time battling depression increases the likelihood of death coming from those illnesses. Over time depression also associates with one of the factors of death following a heart attack. Hence, it is imperative to identify early signs of depression in elders to have them treated early on.

What Causes Depression In Older People

When people get older, the possibilities of depression is higher as during this phase they often face significant life changes which can include the following:

  • Health issues– such as illness and disability, cognitive decline, chronic pains, damages to the body brought about by surgery or sickness.
  • Loneliness and isolation – dwindling social circles due to relocation or death, decrease in capability to be mobile due to illness and living alone.
  • Bereavements– the loss of a partner or spouse, deaths of family members, friends, and pets.
  • Lack of purpose– loss of identity or feelings of worthless because of sudden physical limitations and retirement.
  • Fears– fear of dying, having anxiety over health issues and financial problems.

Identifying The Signs

Depression, most of the times, go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in older people. Family members of older people must know the signs so they can get help.If your loved ones are in healthcare facilities like home health agencies in Houston, then there is no worry as most care facilities can deal with such cases.

There are many symptoms of depression. If any of your elders experience several of the following symptoms for almost two weeks, chances are they are suffering from depression:

  • Persistently sad and anxious
  • Loss of interest in what he/she used to enjoy doing
  • Pessimistic, looking and feeling hopeless
  • Feeling guilty, feeling worthless
  • Diminished energy, fatigue looking
  • Difficulty with focusing, Can’t make coherent decisions
  • Oversleeping and Difficulty with falling asleep
  • Drastic weight change
  • Suicide attempts
  • Irritable and always restless
  • Digestive pains, headaches, and cramps

Common Treatments

Majority of the available antidepressants in the market are said to be quite effective on older people. Although there may be potential side effects and reactions with other medicines if this is is not checked. Antidepressants may take longer to work in older people than it does with younger people. Older people are much more sensitive when it comes to medicines. So doctors will likely prescribe a low dose of antidepressants at first try.

A lot of older people with depression will find that support from family members and close friends, psychotherapy and support groups are really helpful. Psychotherapy is beneficial for those that are experiencing tremendous life stresses like a death in the family, relocation, and health issues. It is also an excellent alternative for older people that cannot take drugs due to side effects or other medical illnesses.




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