Recognizing Elder Depression

Posted on October 11, 2012

October 11th is National Depression Screening Day. Unfortunately, depression in the elderly has been consistently underdiagnosed and undertreated.

High prevalence rates of depression have been reported in medically ill and disabled elders, including hospitalized elders, nursing home residents and elders receiving home care services.

Risk factors for depression in the elderly include; pain, visual impairment, stroke, functional limitations, negative life events, loneliness, lack of social support and perceived inadequacy of care.

Common symptoms of depression include; loss of interest, social withdrawal, feelings of sadness, anxiety, low self-worth, feeling hopeless, poor appetite, sleep disturbances and difficulty making decisions.

Since depression is associated with significant risk for mortality, morbidity, institutionalization, and functional decline, it is important to carefully assess and treat clinical depression in elders following accepted treatment guidelines.

If you or someone you love is depressed, find a good doctor for a thorough evaluation. Depression treatment is effective for elders and can significantly improve quality of life.

References:

http://www.jad-journal.com/article/S0165-0327(04)00182-X/abstract

http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleID=175695

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_elderly.htm#signs