Geriatric depression, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a kind of depression that affects the cognitively and emotionally sensitive elderly. Geriatric depression now affects 20% of community-dwelling seniors and 40% of those in long-term care facilities. Many individuals suffer from misdiagnosed and untreated depression, but with the right intervention, whether you’re young or old, you can reduce the risk factors that contribute to depression and even cure it. Thus, elderly care is very vital and has to be understood in detail.
What is Depression in Elderly People?
Depression is more than just a bad mood; it can present itself in a variety of ways. As a result, elderly individuals may be sad and unaware of it. People over the age of 50 are more likely to have subsyndromal depression. They may suffer from exhaustion, a lack of appetite, constipation, discomfort, or bad sleep, as well as a general lack of excitement for life. In severe conditions, some people may become anxious, confused, and forgetful, losing confidence or feeling like a burden.
Unfortunately, there are many more cases of depression among the elderly that go unreported. Stay with us to learn more about depression in the elderly, including its origins, symptoms, risk factors, basic diagnostic tests, and therapies.
Depression in Elderly Adults: Symptoms and Signs
Knowing the signs and symptoms of depression in the elderly is the first step in recognising it.
- Sadness or emotions of despair are red flags for depression.
- Disruptions to sleep.
- loss of self-esteem (self-loathing).
- Speech or action is slowed.
- The use of alcohol or other drugs has increased.
- loss of interest in hobbies or sociability.
- loss of appetite or weight loss.
- Hopelessness or a sense of powerlessness
- Motivation and energy are both lacking.
- Taking personal care for granted (skipping meals, forgetting meds, neglecting personal hygiene).
- Suicide ideas; fixation on death.
- There are memory issues.
- Aches and pains that are unexplained or worsened.
Causes of Geriatric Depression
There is no one cause of depression in any age group. According to some research, the illness might be inherited. However, biological, social, and psychological factors all have a role in depression in older people.
According to research, the following factors may have a role in depression:
- A history of depression in the family
- Severe life situations, such as abuse or a loved one’s death,
- In the brain, there are low quantities of important neurotransmitter molecules (such as serotonin and norepinephrine).
Depression in older people may be exacerbated by ageing-related complications. These issues might include the following:
- Isolation due to restricted mobility and death.
- Friends and family members have died.
- Divorce or widowhood?
- Long-term medical problems
- Monetary difficulties
- drug addiction for a long time.
- Moving from working life to a retired life
Depression Treatment for Elderly People
Treatment for depression in older folks is equally as successful as it is in younger ones. However, because depression in the elderly is sometimes started or exacerbated by a tough life condition or difficulty, any treatment strategy should take that into account as well. For example, if loneliness is the cause of your sadness, for example, medicine will not be enough to alleviate the situation. So, treatment, including home nursing services, can help an elderly individual overcome this condition and have a happy life.
Risk Considerations for Antidepressants
Drug side effects are more noticeable in older people, and combinations with other medications are more likely. SSRIs like Prozac have also been linked to fast bone loss and an increased risk of fractures and falls in studies. Antidepressants in the elderly should be closely managed due to these safety risks.
Therapy and counselling
Therapy for depression is effective because it targets the root causes of depression rather than simply the symptoms.
Religious and peer counselling are examples of supportive therapy. It can help you discover new meaning and purpose, as well as alleviate loneliness and depression’s hopelessness.
Therapy may help you work through challenging emotions, heal from losses, and work through stressful life transitions. It can also aid in the development of improved coping abilities and the modification of negative thought habits.
Support groups for depression, sickness, and loss bring you together with people who are facing similar difficulties. They provide a secure environment for people to share their stories, guidance, and support.
Is Psychotherapy Effective in Treating Depression in Elderly People?
Support from family and friends, participation in self-help and support groups, and counselling are all beneficial to most depressed people. Psychotherapy is particularly effective for people who have had substantial life difficulties (such as the deaths of friends and family, house relocations, and health issues) or who choose not to take drugs and only have mild to moderate symptoms. It’s also beneficial for those who are unable to take medications due to adverse effects, drug combinations, or other medical conditions.
In older individuals, psychotherapy can help with a variety of functional and social repercussions of depression. Many clinicians combine psychotherapy and antidepressant medications in their treatment plans. To summarise, depression is not a natural component of ageing, and many older people are living with clinical depression when they don’t have to because of the mistaken idea that depression comes with age. This is because many people mistakenly assume that if someone is elderly or sick, they must be depressed. However, this idea is not only false, but it also causes individuals to suffer when they do not need to.
Treatment for depression in older people decreases pain and reduces the risk of other health problems. allowing them to spend more time at home, reducing the risk of depression as a result of their medical problems or hospitalisation. Worst of all, people with untreated geriatric depression feel more lonely and isolated than those who are treated.
This is why we must assist. To begin with, we must shift our view that ageing causes depression, although this is not the case. Second, you may help your elderly parents or loved ones connect with specialists and home nursing Dubai services that can help them manage their pain and discomfort. Rather than dismissing these warning signs and symptoms, intervene and express your concerns, as well as support them in contacting the appropriate professionals.