life stresses

Growing depressed as you aged

by The Anti Depression Team on

Depressed late in life

Depression in the later stage of life should never be regarded as normal and a part of the ageing process. Older people who feel depressed should still seek help before it gets worse.

Why does this happen?

Late in life, people usually experience major losses, be it the loss of their spouses, friends or even children. Furthermore, the loss the physical vigour that they have experienced during their youth, and in some cases, they even lose financial independence as they become more dependent on their children for expenses also causes them to be depressed.

There are two types of depression that can be faced by older people. Depression that started earlier in a person’s life can occur again when they are older due to genetics.

The elderly who are depressed for the first time late in their life could be depressed due to multiple and chronic diseases, including neurological disease. It is due to this link that many consider the symptoms of depression as a normal response to illness. This decision could prove damaging to the depressed person.

This late-onset depression puts the depressed elderly at a higher risk of neurological side-effects from the medications and abnormalities that are associated with the diseases that they are already suffering from.

In addition, elder people could feel depressed due to illnesses because they are part of life stresses that are faced by these older people. Another stressor that may cause the elderly to feel depressed is the feeling that they are no longer of use and are unable to have control over their own lives. The lack of care that is given to the depressed state of the elderly may worsen their condition, which may, in turn, cause this predicament to become much more deadly.

Suicide amongst the elderly is more common as compared to other age groups. This may be attributed to the perception that depressed individuals, or any individuals diagnosed with a psychiatric issue are weak and feeble and belonged in a mental institution. It is due to this that the depressed elderly are unable to seek proper care and turn to extreme measures.


What to look out for

The most common symptoms of being depressed include persistent sadness for over two weeks, excessive worrying, complaints, sleep problems, feelings of worthlessness and helplessness, pacing, difficulty in concentrating and memory loss. Late-life depression may also involve withdrawal from activities due to the loss of interest or energy and self-neglect that may lead to neglect of hygiene and weight loss.

Sadly, these symptoms may overlap with certain existing illnesses or temperaments that are related to the elderly, leaving the depressed individuals to be undetected. For instance, complaining may easily be put down to the depressed elderly as being a complainer, and the loss of memory may just be dismissed as dementia.

Early diagnosis of late-life depression could save many lives, as suicide rates amongst the depressed elderly are high. Nine out of ten older depressed people do not get treatment for their disorder.

With the proper diagnosis, you may be surprised by the changes that will be seen. Elderly patients usually recover from the symptoms of pseudodementia and experience an improvement in brain function as well as quality of life.