Depression in the Elderly
By Stevie Short, Collin and Denton County LIVING WELL Magazines
Do you suffer from feelings of hopelessness, or struggle to fain an interest in activities you once enjoyed? You’re not alone.
Depression is a widespread problem that is unrecognized and under treated among seniors, affecting more than six million Americans age 65 and older. One of the major problems facing its diagnosis is the tendency to overlook signs and misinterpreting them as a “normal” reaction to the aging process. Many people avoid any acknowledgement of a problem because they are afraid to be seen as “weak”; it’s a lethal combination of stigma and hopelessness that ultimately result in an alarming number of cases going unrecognized.
It’s important to understand that under NO circumstance does depression depict “weakness” or reveal a flaw in one’s character; it should be identified, diagnosed, and treated just like any other illness.
Risk factors that increase the likelihood of experiencing depression:
- Health issues; chronic pain
- Loneliness; loss of a loved one
- Family history
- Substance abuse
- A fear of death; financial anxiety
Prevention and early detection is critical to the treatment plan and success rate of the individual. Common symptoms include:
- Lethargy or irregular sleep patterns
- Loss of appetite
- Social withdrawal
- Suicidal thoughts
Even though the last thing you want right now is to go anywhere or see anyone, isolation and inactivity will only worsen the situation. Overcoming depression becomes a possibility when there’s a commitment to stay physically and socially active, willingness to adapt, openness to enjoying things, and maintenance of the relationships between your loved ones and your community.
Fortunately, Rambling Oaks Courtyard might be the solution you have been looking for. We’re an assisted living facility that offers everything from daily exercise class, regularly scheduled activities, complimentary transportation, an on-site beauty salon, to an “entrée select” restaurant-style menu. While you are free to establish your own level of privacy, we are a warm and welcoming community that makes it difficult to ignore all of the opportunities for self-enrichment, and it’s almost impossible not to fit right in and fall in love with our Rambling Oaks family.
Stevie Short is the community relations coordinator at Rambling Oaks Courtyard, ALR.