The other evening I attended a meeting of folks all over 65. We had a new participant in our group who appeared to be in his mid '70's. It became evident after a while that this man was severely depressed and unable to function in a "normal" way. My first thought was that this was probably just a normal part of aging for some. After all, as we get older, we begin to suffer much loss: friends, family, careers, and more.
My assessment was wrong, however. Depression among the elderly is not normal. Whatever the age, depression should be dealt with by medical or mental health professionals.
Depression is a general feeling of being down emotionally. A person suffering from depression may feel bad about a multitude of things or may not have any particular reason for feeling low. Depression can strike suddenly, or can come about slowly. It can be chronic or episodic.
The National Institute for Mental Health Lists these symptoms of DepressionSigns and symptoms include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
Depression is a serious and debilitation illness that can easily lead to or contribute to other medical maladies and/or interfere with recovery from disease or injury.
For another excellent article, see: http://www.ageexperts.net/guides/for-60s/depression-after-age-60-and-how-to-deal-with-it
BrightStarCare.com/jupiter can be of help in these types of circumstances. Call us to discuss any level of care from companions to skilled nursing.