Depression in Older Adults

A mood disorder altering an individual’s ability to feel, think, and perform daily activities is classified as depression. Depression is a common disorder seen in individuals of any age. The difference between depression in older and younger adults is that the risk that accompanies depression in older adults is significantly greater. This type of depression, often called late-life depression, is relatively common and observed in approximately 6 million adults aged 65 or older. The development of depression in older adults has been linked to an increased risk of cardiac disease and death. Along with an increased risk in poor health, the rate of suicide attempts increases as an individual ages. The suicide rate in older adults aged 80-84 has been determined to be over twice that of younger adults.


Late-life depression can be caused by a variety of factors that would not normally apply to younger adults such as strokes and cancer. Death and illnesses in the family of older adults can also lead to depression due to the loss of the social interactions and support provided by family members. Other commonly known causes for depression include genes (family history of the disease), the brain’s chemical structure, stress (resulting from the loss of meaningful relationships), and personal history of the disease.


A wide range of symptoms are associated with depression but the most common of all is an overwhelming sensation of sadness. Other, less recognizable, symptoms are observed as a result of depression and should be signs to look for in your loved ones. Irritability, decreased energy, difficulty sleeping, and lack of appetite should all pose red flags. Prevention is the best tool to use with a disorder like depression. An effective way to prevent the onset of depression is to have a healthy level of human interaction daily. Home caregivers are an excellent way to help reduce the sense of loneliness often felt by individuals suffering from depression. They can provide companionship by making conversation, playing games, or simply through their presence. Using home care allows you to find a set of caregivers that are a perfect match with your loved ones, in order to build a meaningful relationship that helps prevent a senior living alone from feeling lonely. For more information on the services provided by our company, give us a call today!