Low mood in the elderly is common. Often, elderly depression and the symptoms can be confused with other medical conditions. Changes in life that occur in the aged – death in the family or close friends, and retirement can cause these low moods. Because fewer people are around, there is less chance of noticing the depressive behaviour. Low mood in elderly people increases the risk of other health problems including insomnia or heart problems.
Medications and when appropriate, psychological therapy can help treat this depressive condition in elderly people.
What Is Geriatric Depression
“Geriatric depression is a mental and emotional disorder affecting senior citizens. Feelings of sadness and occasional “blue” moods are normal. However, lasting depression is not a typical part of aging.”
These mental health conditions will often look different in many people. It is always advisable to keep an eye on your older parents or friends and be alert to any sign that all is not as it usually is.
Don’t just assume that they are getting old and it is part of the process.
Symptoms of Depression
Signs and symptoms for depression may include:
- feelings of worthlessness
- crying spells
- lack of concentration
- sleep problems
- changes in appetite
- thoughts of suicide
- physical aches and pains
Proper diagnosis and treatment of low mood in elderly people can be very difficult. The elderly’s first point of contact is usually their doctor.
If they are in an assisted living facility, care workers may notice some indicators of depression.
Living With Elderly Who Suffer Depression
The support from family and loved ones can have a profound effect on an elder’s care. Encourage treatment and offer support to help your loved one live a full, happy life.
Life Style Changes Used To Treat Depression May Include:
- increasing physical activity
- finding a new hobby or interest
- having regular visits with family and friends
- getting enough sleep daily
- eating a well-balanced diet
Depression Information For People Of All Ages
The use of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Solution Focused treatments for patients with depressive behaviour, should result in signs of improvement in four to eight sessions, depending on the extent of their issues.
A Home Visiting service is available if elderly patients would prefer to be seen in their own homes.
The Swan Valley Psychology Centre is Member of the Australian Psychological Society and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority.
Contact us for more information.