Depression is a mental illness that affects 40 million adults in the United States. Biological changes and life circumstances may play a huge role in depression in senior adults. It is estimated that up to 13.5 percent of seniors who require home care suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
As we age, changes in our bodies can make it more difficult to perform activities of daily living. With more time spent on Earth, we also experience more loss, from job loss, to home loss, to the deaths of loved ones, and grief can take a toll on one’s mental health. The best way to combat depression is to know how to spot it and ask for help when you recognize there’s a problem, whether in yourself or in someone you love.
Signs and Symptoms
Depression may be more difficult to recognize in adults, particularly in seniors. The symptoms are often times mistaken as being just sadness, or lack of energy due to age and loss of stamina. If you suspect that you or a senior loved one is suffering from depression, here are some symptoms to watch out for:
- Feelings of sadness or irritability that last most of the day
- Loss of interest in activities once loved
- Sudden changes in weight or appetite
- Sleep problems, such as insomnia or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy; feeling tired all day, every day
- Feelings of extreme guilt
- Difficulty concentrating on simple tasks
- Grief that lasts for longer than six months
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicidal ideations
Hope and Help
Remember that everyone’s depression presents itself differently. So a depressed person may only show one or a couple of the symptoms listed above. Likewise, a person who is just sad or tired may also show some of these symptoms. When it comes to depression, it is best to err on the side of caution and talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any signs of depression. Depression is a serious illness that needs treatment and care. Reach out to your doctor and your loved ones if you are depressed.