Depression in Senior Citizens

Depression can strike anyone of any age, but senior citizens seem to be especially vulnerable when it comes to this form of mental illness. People in their golden years often struggle with daunting physical and cognitive issues that can reduce their ability to lead fully functional and productive lives, resulting in depression. It can also sometimes be difficult to then detect the depression because symptoms they display are sometimes misdiagnosed as being side effects from medication.

Here are some factors that can lead to depression in senior citizens:

Isolation

Many seniors reach a point in their lives where travel becomes more difficult. As a result, they may lose touch with friends and loved ones, and begin to feel quite isolated. Those living in managed care might even see them less due to geographic distance.

Physical Ailments

When we feel poorly, it almost always has a negative affect on our mood. In addition to common ailments like cold and flu, seniors’ moods can be impacted by more serious problems common to this stage in life, such as heart disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, stroke, and dementia.

Medication

We mentioned above that depression can sometimes go untreated in seniors because it can be mistaken as side effects from medication. However, there are certain meds that can actually induce or worsen depression. These include blood pressure medication, painkillers, beta blockers, steroids, and drugs to treat high cholesterol.

Lack of Exercise

Whether it be physical limitations, location, or lack of motivation to get up and do something, not having regular forms of exercise in life can be a factor in developing depression.

Poor Sleeping Habits

Many older people do not sleep well due to having to use the bathroom more frequently, unruly roommates in managed care facilities, etc. Lack of proper rest can lead to lessened enjoyment of life and depression.