Depression in Seniors - Tips for Beating the Blues | Senior Health
beatingTheBlues

Senior Health

Beating the Blues: Depression & Seniors

Depression is common for seniors. However, few receive treatment. This is because the signs of depression can look differently in the seniors. Depression in seniors may be masked by  other illnesses and disabilities, and last longer1.

If you’re over 65, you may be going through a lot of life changes like the death of loved ones, stressful life events or new medical problems. It’s normal to feel stressed or sad about these types of changes. However, it may be a sign of depression if these symptoms do not go away for a while.

 

Signs of Depression:

  • Feeling sad or empty
  • Uninterested in regular hobbies and activities
  • Feeling hopeless and pessimistic
  • Feeling worthless or helpless
  • Decreased energy or having fatigue
  • Unable to concentrate, remember or make decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Appetite changes or unintentional changes in weight
  • Thinking about death or suicide
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems2

 

Depression is not a normal part of aging. It is not a sign of weakness. You may need help from a doctor to feel better. Just like other medical conditions, depression is treatable.

 

When meeting with your doctor he or she will ask you more about how you have been feeling. They provide a plan to treat the depression. This plan might include the use of medicines and/or counseling. It can take up to six weeks for medication to start working. You should not stop taking it too soon or symptoms of depression could return. Medications should be taken for at least six months. Keep talking with your doctor about any side effects.

 

There are other lifestyle changes that can help with depression, including:

  • Increasing physical activity
  • Starting a new hobby or interest
  • Visiting more with family and friends
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet

Gateway Health is also here to help you. The Depression Management Program can help those who have noticed mood changes or have been recently diagnosed with depression. A case manager will answer any questions about depression, help you manage the symptoms and find the care you need.

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  1. https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-elderly#1
  2. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/older-adults-and-depression/index.shtml

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