What Causes Depression in the Elderly?
Your loved one’s depression can be caused by:
- Chronic illness
- Stressful life events
- Pain or discomfort
- Dementia and decline in cognitive functions
Some aging adults also experience a reduced sense of purpose, which often causes anxiety and depression.
Aging adults with Alzheimer’s or other dementia often experience depression as their cognitive impairment progresses. Your loved one with dementia may feel sad and often cry, feel desperate and hopeless, experience sudden mood swings, and become restless and easily irritated.
Depression in the elderly can be hard to recognize and diagnose, as it often presents itself in less apparent symptoms. However, some typical signs of depression may also be present. These commonly involve a decrease in energy, loss of interest in usual activities, sleep problems, irritability, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, and fatigue.
Also, your elderly loved one may experience difficulties concentrating, memory issues, guilt, and shame. They may have suicidal thoughts or even attempt suicide.
The most effective treatment strategies for depression include medication and psychotherapy.