Coping with Depression in the Elderly

Down in the dumps, hopeless and helpless, feeling that all of your best days behind you or no one really cares? And on top of it all, you keep getting older…

This is how many older people feel on a daily basis. Which is why depression represents one of our great fears of aging? Everyone has these feelings to some extent. There is no need to be ashamed of these feelings; they are justified and normal.

The depth and duration of depression vary greatly among people. Severe depression can cause weight loss, sleeplessness slowing of movement and speech and even thoughts of suicide. Severe depression requires professional help. It can be alleviated, but sometimes it takes a good amount of time for the situation to improve.

Most depression in older individuals is much more easily handled and often the symptoms of depression are not recognized as depression. The depressed individual may complain of being tired, insomnia, pain in the muscles and joints and even constipation.

For older people suffering from depression who are often taking multiple medications at the same time, reviewing the medications is a good place to start. Medications like codeine and other pain killers as well as antihistamines can cause or aggravate depression. Some arthritis medications like prednisone and indomethacin have been known to cause depressive reactions in some people.

But often medication or the removal of medication is not the remedy. For older people that are feeling depressed, it is important to stay active and exercise. This can be done in many ways from a change in pace, to visiting friends, going on vacation, starting a new hobby and so much more. When increasing activity it is important for older people to know their limits. But it is also important for older people to recognize that they are not dead yet. Just because someone is 92 years old does not mean that they should not make long term plans or project and anticipate future events or do things that they have always wanted to do and just kept putting off.

In the event that you can’t alleviate you depression or it is very, very severe you should seek professional help right away. There are many health care advocate resources to point you in the right direction. With that being said, most depressions ease and disappear if a person works at living and keeps themselves activeArticle Submission, but some people do need extra help.




For almost two decades Cheryl Zangrilil has been an active contributor to multiple online publications.

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  • LAAAC is managed by St. Barnabas Senior Services; Funded, in part, by Archstone Foundation.
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