Top 12 little known facts about depression in senior citizens:
• Depression is a common illness among senior citizens
• Depression is often not recognized until it is severe
• The elderly have one of the highest suicide rates
• Depression is not a normal part of aging
• Depression can lead to sleeping disorders and other physical problems
• Increasing dependence or withdrawal are symptoms of depression
• Family members are key to diagnosing the elderly with depression
• Senior citizens will often not recognize symptoms of depression in themselves
• Senior citizens are often embarrassed to be diagnosed with mental illness
• Only one in six elders with depression get diagnosed and treated
• Depression rates among senior citizens can depend on living conditions
• Clinical depression cannot be successfully treated without medical intervention
It is often difficult, especially for today’s generations of senior citizens, to admit to needing medical assistance regarding their mental health. It is important for family members and health care workers who interact with senior citizens to be aware of the symptoms of depression and seek the intervention of a health care professional in the early stages of mental illness. Suicide rates among elderly men, especially ages 80 to 85, are very high. It is important for those who interact and care for senior citizens remain vigilant for any early signs of depression.
Early Signs of Depression
Unfortunately, the early signs of depression in senior citizens often go ignored until the problem is severe. Frequent sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, poor nutrition, excessive anxiety over daily activities and a gradual withdrawal from family and friends are some of the early signs that indicate there may be a problem. These signs that may be observed by family members are often explained away by the person experiencing them.
The Importance of Good Health Management
Good health management, especially in senior citizens, can include good nutrition, physical fitness and a healthy home environment. Depression is not a normal part of the aging process, but the aging process can attribute to factors that lead to depression. A patient’s living conditions can contribute to their overall mental health and wellness. A clean, safe environment can be one of the main factors in preventing mental health such as depression. A disorganized, or dirty, environment can make a senior citizen feel despondent and withdrawn. For those senior citizens who are unable to perform housekeeping tasks, there are home health care companies who provide housekeeping services. Health insurance companies usually cover the fees charged by mental health professionals and their assistance should be sought at the first sign of problems.
Mental Health and Safety
It is important for all people who interact with senior citizens, health care workers, family and friends, to be aware of the possibility of depression. Family members are often key to good health management and positive mental health in their loved one. Frequent visits to the home of their loved one will provide indications of any early signs of depression. If the signs and symptoms of depression are present in their family member, they should immediately seek assistance from a health care professional.