Depression in Seniors
As we grow older, we face significant life changes that can put us at risk for depression. The past year of Pandemic isolation has triggered feelings of loneliness and discouragement for some who have never before experienced such vulnerability. Causes and risk factors that contribute to depression in older adults and the elderly to be alert to in family, neighbors and friends include:
– Health problems–Illness and disability; chronic or severe pain; cognitive decline; damage to body image due to surgery or disease.
– Loneliness and isolation – Living alone; a dwindling social circle due to deaths or relocation; decreased mobility due to illness or loss of driving privileges.
– Reduced sense of purpose – Feelings of purposelessness or loss of identity due to retirement or physical limitations on activities.
– Fears – Fear of death or dying; anxiety over financial problems or health issues.
– Recent bereavement – The death of friends, family members, and pets; the loss of a spouse or partner.
Depression not only makes you feel sick—with aches, pains, and fatigue—it actually makes physical health worse. Depression also gets in the way of memory and concentration. In fact, it can have such an impact on thinking that it’s sometimes mistaken for dementia. But depression is not a normal or necessary part of aging, and it can be successfully treated. You can feel better and enjoy your golden years once again, no matter what challenges you face.
Whether you’re 18 or 80, you don’t have to live with depression. Senior depression can be treated, and with the right support, you can feel better—the key word being support. It’s extremely difficult to overcome depression on your own.
If you or someone you know could benefit from support resources for depression, contact Leah Harris, Pastoral Care, 408-997-5110 or firstname.lastname@example.org.