Aging can certainly bring about feelings of sadness that are quite normal. But, depression isn't a normal reaction to aging. Even though it isn't the norm, almost 20% of elders experience depression as they age. More alarming is the fact that most don't get treatment for it.
The loss of a loved one or the sudden onset of a debilitating illness can play havoc with a senior's ability to bounce back into a chosen lifestyle or to ward off the symptoms of depression. According to Gary Kennedy, M.D., "Depression in the elderly may be more common in seniors, but it is certainly not normal and can be treated just as successfully in seniors as in anyone else."
1Sadness And Depression Are Not The Same
Sadness and grief, rather than depression, are often the causes of withdrawal from social activities and participating in things that used to make the elderly happy. It's important to recognize the difference between sadness and depression. If the person's withdrawal or other symptoms of depression are prolonged, it could be very dangerous. Clinical depression may be the cause and should be treated immediately.
2Weakness Can Trigger Depression
Older adults are usually more resilient because of the lives they've led that have included grief and sadness along the way. But, if a senior becomes physically or mentally impaired, the chances of depression increase. When depression begins to interfere with the senior's ability to function and carry on in a usual manner, their peace of mind and pleasure in simple things are stolen from them. They may develop suicidal thoughts or develop habits (such as alcohol) that lead to an early death.
3Depression Gets Worse As You Age
When you or someone you care for have been wrestling with depression for a number of years, keep in mind that aging can worsen the condition. It's a situation where time doesn't cure all ills. It can only make them worse.
4The Elderly Are Usually More Affected
When feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness are experienced, serious repercussions may occur. Aged people are prone to wrestling with these feelings. That's why the debilitating disorder of depression needs to be dealt with in the elderly quickly and seriously.
If you suspect that you or a senior in your life has gone from sadness or grief, into the throes of a depressive state, find out more about what you can do about the situation. Online help exists to help you find your way out. You can also get in touch with a health care professional. There are many treatments that can help.