For many people, adjustment to aging doesn’t go as they imagined. A person may find it difficult to adjust to all loses and changes that are becoming the part of life. Also, for many people, there may be a gap between what they thought growing older would be and how it is.
Resisting to change may trigger seniors’ emotional issues, so managing their mood can become very stressful for you as a family member or caregiver.
The most common mental health issue in the elderly is depression. Depression is much more than just feeling blue. Although more than 6 million Americans over the age of 65 experience depression, this condition is never a normal part of aging.
Depression in the elderly can be triggered by other health concerns such as dementia or chronic illness. It is common for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementia to develop depression. Your loved one with dementia may experience mood swings, feel sad and hopeless, cry, and become irritated and agitated.
Depression in the aging population may also develop due to other factors such as loneliness, loss of a loved one, a reduced sense of purpose, or side effects of certain medications or alcohol abuse.
Depression in the elderly can manifest in less visible or different symptoms than in younger people, so it may be challenging to recognize and diagnose it.
Your loved one with depression may experience the following symptoms of depression:
- Feeling hopeless and worthless
- Feeling guilty and ashamed
- A decrease in energy
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory issues
- Sleep troubles
- Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
Treatment options for depression include traditional psychotherapy and medication. Also, there is a wide range of alternative therapies such as meditation, exercise, yoga, and others that can help seniors manage depression.