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By Marcy Shoemaker, Psy.D., Abramson Center psychologist
Unfortunately, for seniors who suffer from depression, the golden years are not always bright and glowing. Depression often occurs as one ages for a variety of reasons including new health problems and changes in lifestyle. The good news is that depression can be diagnosed, treated and managed so that seniors can experience a quality life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression occurs among 1-5% of seniors who are living independently, with a greater occurrence among seniors receiving home care (13.5%) and among older adults in hospitals (11.5%). Misdiagnosis of depression in the elderly is a concern. Physicians, family and friends may confuse the symptoms as a medical issue. An elderly patient who often visits their doctor with multiple issues may be labelled as “a complainer” when the core problem may be caused by depression. The good news is that there are practical solutions to address mental health issues and aging. Better knowledge about depression and coping techniques can be used by family, friends, seniors and physicians for early detection and treatment. The first step is identification of the problem.
Here are some possible warning signs that a senior may be at risk for depression:
How to help your elderly loved one manage depression:
Depression is a problem that occurs among many seniors. But with treatment and management, symptoms can be alleviated and the senior years can be lived with a rich quality of life. It is important for all seniors and their family and friends to recognize that depression does not need to impair one’s life. Be positive, get help and ask questions. There is light at the end of the tunnel
For more information, fill out the form on our Abramson Care Advisors, or call us for free, 24/7 at 215-371-3400.