A Few Basic Facts About Depression in the Elderly

A while back, we did a brief blog post on the topic of elderly depression. As we mentioned then, depression is a common problem for elderly people.

As we age, we’re faced with retirement, the death of loved ones, increased isolation, and declining health all of which have the possibility of affecting our outlook on life.

Depression can be hard, not only on our aging loved ones, but on the rest of the family as well, which is why it’s so important to make sure we do our best to ensure that our loved ones are properly cared for if and when depression strikes.

Throughout this week, we’ll talk about various aspects of elderly depression, from a general overview, to causes and signs of depression.

For today, we’ll begin with some basic things you need to know about depression in the elderly. Take a look below:

Depression is more than just mental.

Despite the fact that depression is considered a mental illness, depression can actually affect us physically, too. Those with depression will often experience chronic pain, fatigue, changes in appetite and weight, as well as difficulty sleeping.

In turn, their physical health can decline significantly and may result in other serious complications. This is part of the reason why it’s so important to not make your loved ones feel like it’s all just in their head. Doing so avoids addressing the issue and also increases the likelihood of causing your loved one suffering.

Suicide rates are high among the elderly.

According to a recent article in The New York Times New Old Age blog, 2010 statistics taken from the Center for Disease Control show that among those over 65, 14.9 per 100,000 take their own lives each year. Out of those numbers, elderly white men have the highest rate of suicide with about 29 per 100,000 over all, and more than 47 per 100,000 among those over age 85. Those numbers may be under-reported due to the stigma associated with suicide.

Depression is not inevitable.

Suicide and depression are especially difficult subjects to talk about. And, while many would rather avoid these subjects altogether, addressing such issues can do a lot to prevent unfortunate incidents such as suicide from occurring.

As we mentioned above, suicides among older people have declined in recent decades, which is likely attributed to improved screening and treatment of depression, meaning that depression can be avoidable (or at least treatable). By taking the proper steps to make sure your loved ones are adequately cared for, you can do a lot to maintain (if not improve) their outlook, despite all of the difficult trials they have gone through.

At Encompass, we strive to ensure the best quality of life through all stages of the aging process, and that means going through the good and the bad with you. If you are concerned about your loved ones well being or have any questions, please feel free to give Encompass a call. We are here to help.

Physicians’ Choice Private Duty Assisted Living currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of geriatric care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. Get your free Cost Comparison guide by clicking here. Or contact us for a free consultation or just to say hello!

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