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Elderly People Not Dealing With Depression


Depression in older people is a common problem and very few get the help they need. There are a variety of reasons depression in older adults is so often overlooked. Some believe that it is natural with age, while others believe depression is just a part of the aging process.

Physicians tend to ignore depression in older patients because they spend more time focusing on their physical complaints. There are many consequences of this oversight because untreated depression poses very serious risks for older adults.

Dr. Gary Kennedy, chief of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and a leading authority on elderly depression, calls the condition a “major public health problem.” Kennedy says many health practitioners who care for the elderly are unprepared and unable to detect signs of depressed individuals. “Most don’t ask the simple questions that screen for depression,” he says.

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Some of the symptoms in elderly people with depression can be loss of interest, difficulty concentrating, fatigue tiredness or weariness, depressed or irritable mood, not eating as much, daytime sleepiness, sleeping problems, waking up many times through the night, loss of interest or pleasure, aches and pains, weight loss or gain, agitation, anxiety and Irresponsible behavior.

Depression in the elderly can increases their risk of death. Studies in nursing homes have shown that the presence of depression substantially increased the likelihood of death if someone that is ill and also is associated with increased risk of death following a heart attack even if the depression was mild. Surprising as it may seem, many studies confirm that the elderly, and especially elderly-men, have high blood pressure or abnormal heart rhythms when they experience depression.

It is important to know that a depressed person is not always obviously sad rather they may seem apathetic, unreactive, preoccupied, or indifferent to activities and interests that once brought pleasure. They may want to do nothing more than sit and “hold the chair down” and feel quite okay with that.

If you suspect your elderly loved one is depressed, ask them to seek help, often they wont, however, you can attempt to educated them and help them become aware that depression in elderly is treatable.