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Posted on May 27, 2015 in Counseling, Depression, Elderly, Family, News, Seniors

Depressed Elderly: How to Recognize the Symptoms

There are many misconceptions about depression. One myth is that real men don’t get depressed. The truth is, notions of masculinity have prevented men from speaking about their problems when they are depressed. Similarly, some people find it difficult to believe that elderly people can also be affected by depression.

The elderly are more susceptible to depression than young people because many of them are retired, have lost their loved ones, are lonely or isolated, are in pain or not keeping good health. These conditions can lead to depression.

Elderly depression

If you see an elderly person suffering from sadness, fatigue, sleep disturbances, extreme weight loss, appetite loss, with no interest in hobbies, increased use of medications or alcohol, loss of self-worth, social withdrawal, it may be a sign that he or she is depressed. There are many reasons why an elderly person may start showing symptoms of depression.

Symptoms of Depression in the Elderly

Health issues: Chronic pain, disability, illness and cognitive decline can lead to depression.

Reduced sense of purpose: An elderly person may begin to feel that he or she does not have any purpose in life or may start feeling unimportant and neglected. Illness or physical limitations can also cause this feeling.

Fear: Elders may begin to fear dying, financial problems or health issues; all can lead to depression.

Isolation and loneliness: Many elderly people have to live alone even when they have children. Some may feel ignored, even while staying with their family. This may cause feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Recent bereavement: The death of a family member, pet, friend or the loss of a partner or spouse can also cause an elderly person to become depressed.

Is is possible to be depressed without being sad?

Yes it is, especially among the elderly. Some elderly say that they are depressed, but not sad. They may complain a lot, show lack of energy and exhibit physical problems. Physical complaints like headaches and arthritis are also a sign that a person is depressed.

More symptoms of depression in the elderly can include unexplained pains, memory problems, worries, anxieties, slowed speech or movement, loss of interest in hobbies and socializing, lack of energy or motivation.

Unfortunately, will power is not enough to treat depression. Depression must be treated symptomatically. Encourage the elderly person to exercise, connect with people, sleep well, eat well and learn new skills. Most of all, take time out to talk and listen to them because they also want to feel wanted and loved. Offer compassion and love. It will work in most cases. You can also try psychological counseling. There are many Benefits of Therapy for the Elderly.

Need more help?

There are many benefits of therapy for the elderly.The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to assist the elderly and their families. Contact us today for more information or to schedule a free 20 minute consultation to discuss your situation. Schedule an appointment by calling 630-621-5824 or send us a message.