Depression in the Elderly

Depression is a serious mood disorder that is all too common, especially in the elderly. Many younger people dismiss depression in the elderly as a normal part of aging and something seniors can just “snap out of.” This is absolutely not the case. If gone unchecked and untreated, depression can lead to serious consequences in not just seniors, but any person struggling with this ugly disease.

What Causes Depression?

A number of factors can contribute to the development of depression in the elderly. Some of these factors include family history and/or genetics, brain chemistry, death of a loved one, recent major life change, declining health, major financial issues, or side effects of certain medications.

Recognizing Signs and Symptoms

Noticing signs and symptoms of depression in seniors can sometimes be more difficult than signs in younger people. Being “sad” or “down” is not always a main symptom for the elderly. Symptoms can include difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than normal, lack of concentration, loss of interest in hobbies, unexplainable aches or pains, or loss of motivation or energy.

Treatment Options

While battling depression, the fight is often a marathon, not a sprint. Many physicians suggest a long-term combination treatment plan of psychotherapy and medication. For seniors, since declining health can be a risk factor for depression, it is suggested that seniors initially see their primary care physicians. There, primary care doctors can run tests and perform physicals to rule out any physical ailment. The next step is to see a psychiatrist to create a medication plan. The psychiatrist will then most likely recommend scheduling an appointment with a therapist. This is the most common route people take; however, this treatment plan may not work for all seniors. No two person’s depression symptoms are the same. This is why it is so important to find the right method of treatment.

Depression in the elderly is a very serious matter; that’s why if you notice your senior loved one exhibiting symptoms, talk to them. Suggest seeking help.

At Bay Cove Assisted Living & Memory Care, we understand the importance of our residents’ mental health. That’s why our state-of-the-art assisted living community was built from the ground up specifically with the goal of providing enriching, active lives for all of our residents. If you or your senior loved one lives in the Biloxi, Mississippi area and is considering assisted living, contact Bay Cove today!

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