Recognizing and treating depression in the elderly

October 10 is World Mental Health Day, so our CCRC in Sussex County is taking this opportunity to talk about a very real and serious senior health issue: depression.

Depression can happen to anyone, at any age or in any circumstance – it’s not a weakness or a character flaw. It’s also not a normal part of aging. Getting older comes with plenty of challenges  that can leave you feeling down, but that’s not depression. Everyone should enjoy their later years, which is why recognizing and treating depression in seniors is so important.

Symptoms of depression in seniors 

Some signs of depression include:

  • Feelings of sadness and despair
  • Weight loss/loss of appetite
  • Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • Insomnia, fatigue or oversleeping
  • Loss of self-worth
  • Slowed movement and speech
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Neglecting personal care
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, social events, etc. that were usually enjoyed

While sadness is a common symptom of depression, many patients don’t report feeling sad at all. Rather, they feel a lack of motivation, increased headaches and physical complaints like arthritis pain, and low energy.

Medical conditions can lead to depression

Certain medical conditions and medical treatment can cause depression as a side effect. Examples of these include:

  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Thyroid conditions
  • B12 deficiency
  • Dementia
  • Lupus

Examples of medications can include:

  • Blood pressure medication
  • Beta-blockers
  • Sleeping pills
  • High cholesterol medication
  • Arthritis medication
  • Estrogen-based medication

Treating depression in seniors 

Professional help is available for seniors suffering with depression and treatment, including therapy, medication or medication changes (depending on the cause of the depression) is available. With a combination of professionally-guided treatment and healthy lifestyle changes, seniors should be able to regain enjoyment of life and reconnect with their community and loved ones.

Experience a caring, compassionate community at our CCRC in Sussex County, NJ 

Bristol Glen is a CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey offering seniors independence, comfort and a vibrant social life along with high quality care, when needed. Abundant senior living with a full continuum of care can be yours.

With a personalized and customized set of services, seniors are able to fully access the level of care they require, when they require it. We are also fully equipped and able to assist Alzheimer’s and dementia residents through our memory care and support services.

Contact us to find out more about our community, and book your visit today.