Changes in health status, the loss of friends and loved ones, the loss of work
and financial stability can all lend to depression in the elderly. Isolation
adds to the causes of depression in the elderly. Additionally, chronic illnesses
common in the later years Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, cancer, diabetes,
heart disease and Parkinson's disease can trigger depression in the elderly
Depression in the elderly affects about 6 million Americans and the elderly are
considered the group most at risk for suicide. The suicide rate for the elderly
as a whole is more than 50 percent higher than young people while white men over
the age of 80 are six times more likely to commit suicide than any other
demographic group. Most suicides in the elderly are attributed to undetected or
Depression in the elderly often goes undetected for a number of reasons. Elderly
patients often do not report their symptoms and more likely than any other group
to "handle it themselves." If they do report symptoms of depression, these
symptoms are often misinterpreted as symptoms of a medical illness. Or, the
symptoms of depression are missed because they coincide with other illnesses
common in later life.
If you suspect elderly depression in yourself or an elderly friend or loved one,
take or administer the
Geriatric Depression Scale.
The Geriatric Depression Scale is a basic screening measure to assess elderly
Antidepressants are typically the first course of treatment prescribed by health
care providers. However, antidepressants have potentially dangerous side
effects. The elderly person with depression might taking a number of
prescription medications for physical conditions and may not want to take more
drugs or may not be able to tolerate more drugs.
Deprex is a safe and effective depression treatment that can be used alongside
other medications. If depression is present, using Deprex will help elevate mood
and alleviate the symptoms of depression.
In addition to using a safe depression treatment like Deprex, try these
self-help techniques if experiencing depression:
- Ask for help.
- Find ways to get out, spend time with people and avoid isolation.
- Try to eat properly.
- Remember that depression is as real an illness as physical conditions.
- Remind yourself that the vast majority elderly with depression get better.
- Tell someone if you feel suicidal.
- Express your feelings to someone else.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can actually make depression worse.
If an elderly friend or relative is experiencing depression, encourage them to
accept help. Offer practical help like cleaning, cooking or grocery shopping.
Remind them to eat properly. Be patient and allow them to openly discuss their
feelings with you. The simple act of showing your concern can help the elderly
person with depression.