Depression in older adults tends to affect their health and quality of life, according to the Geriatric Education Center of Michigan. Physical ailments like sleep disturbance, lack of energy and digestive disorders tend to occur with depression, anxiety and stress. Adults with depression have a huge risk of reduced cognition and substance abuse. They have higher suicide risk and a higher incidence of heart attacks.
Risk factors for younger adults and older adults are different with varying reasons. According to a research website common risk factors and reasons for depression in older adults may consist of:
- Health issues: There may be chronic or severe pain, illness, disability, cognitive decline and damage to body image due to disease or surgery.
- Isolation and Loneliness: This may be due to a dwindling social circle due to deaths or relocation, decreased mobility due to illness or loss of driving privileges or living alone.
- Decreased sense of purpose: This may take place due to feelings of purposelessness or loss of identity due to retirement or physical limitations on usual activities.
- Fear: Including fear of death, dying or anxiety over health issues and financial problems.
- Bereavements: Death of friends, family members or pets or even loss of a spouse or partner.
Studies say that there are ways to recognize the signs and depression symptoms of depression in older adults and the elderly. Some common symptoms include fatigue, sadness, abandoning or loss of interest in hobbies and other pleasurable pastimes or social withdrawal, isolation where there is a reluctance to be with friends, to leave home or get engaged in other activities. There might even be symptoms like sleep disturbance, weight loss or loss of appetite, loss of self-worth, a fixation on death, increased use of alcohol or some other drugs or suicidal thoughts.
Here are some signs to have a look at in order to know whether it is depression or dementia.
Depression has quick mental decline but dementia has slow mental declined.
If an individual is depressed he or she would still know things like the correct date, time and where they are; but with dementia, there is a confusion and disoriented and sometimes the individual is lost in familiar locations.
Depressed individuals have a hard time concentrating and they worry a lot about memory problems. Whereas individuals with dementia have short-term memory loss and don’t notice memory problems.
A depressed person has slow language and motor skills, yet they are somehow normal. On the other hand a person with dementia has impaired writing and speaking along with motor skills.
A good news according to studies is that depression resolved in seven out of 10 people. A complete treatment regime can increase positive mood along with strengthening personal relationships; increased satisfaction in day to day activities and help people feel like themselves again.
If your loved one as an older adult is suffering from depression, assist them to connect to their health care provider to assess the situation and help them with community resources with the aim to restore their quality of life.