Depression in Seniors
Depression is an often overlooked and under-diagnosed problem for senior citizens. Though everyone feels sad at times, if this feeling persists for more than a couple of days and interferes with daily life and normal functioning than it may be a condition that doctors call “depressive disorder” or “clinical depression”. As we age, we go through some important life changes that can cause feelings of sadness or stress. The loss of a loved one, retirement, or illness are common occurrences associated with ageing, but depression is not. Though many older adults can adjust to life changes, others struggle and may develop depression. Though it is widely believed that suicide affects young people, it is also a serious problem among senior citizens, especially older men. Men over 75 years old have higher suicide rates than younger men and men age 85 and older have the highest suicide rate in the United States. Depression is often unrecognized in senior adults and thus goes untreated. This may be because they are less willing to talk about their feelings or because symptoms may be different or less obvious. Though grief and sadness are a normal part of life, depression is a medical condition that benefits from treatment.