Signs of Depression in Older Adults

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Depression has no age limit, but it can be particularly common among older adults. Depression is not part of aging, but the life transitions that come with getting older can spark depression. If you’ve been feeling sad, unmotivated, or uncharacteristically lethargic, you may have a form of depression. No worries though – there are treatment options available to brighten your mood and outlook on life.

Let’s take a closer look at the signs of depression in older adults, as well as depression treatment options you may explore.

Depression Triggers for Older Adults

Depression does not always have a specific source. It may be a compilation of stress, life changes, loss, etc. However, there are some situations that could cause depression, such as:

  • Death of a friend or family member
  • Retirement
  • Developing a serious illness, or another declination of health
  • Certain medical conditions, especially those affecting sleep or blood flow to the brain
  • Financial stress (living on a fixed income)
  • Loss of mobility
  • Family members moving away

Depression in older adults may also be the result of unresolved depression from the past. You may have found a creative way to cope with depression before, but that coping mechanism no longer works for your lifestyle. Working with a therapist would allow you to find new solutions that fit your current lifestyle and circumstances.

Note that some medications may make you more prone to depression. Talk to your doctor about the potential side effects of each medication, and discuss alternatives if you experience depression.

Signs of Depression in Seniors

Depression is typically characterized by sadness, but it may reveal itself in different ways. Older adults may feel unexpectedly tired or irritable throughout the day, even though they do not mentally feel ‘sad.’ Signs of depression in older adults may include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Trouble concentrating or remembering important information
  • Fatigue
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Social isolation
  • Loss of interest in activities that bring you joy
  • Changes in eating habits, often accompanied by sudden weight gain or weight loss

Does Depression Go away on Its Own?

Some forms of sadness go away on their own. For instance, after the loss of a loved one, you may experience extreme sadness for an extended period of time. Those feelings become progressively less intense as time passes and you adjust. If the feelings continue to linger at the same severity though, they may develop into depression. This is when you should consider seeking depression treatment.

How to Get Help through Depression Counseling

The most common depression treatment for older adults is counseling. A therapist specializing in depression counseling will work with you one-on-one to resolve issues in your life. In this process, you will bring closure to past experiences and learn how to control your thought patterns in the future. Your counselor will help you identify the source of your depression, as well as personalized coping mechanisms designed for your lifestyle.

Urban Balance provides professional depression counseling for clients of all ages. We accept most forms of insurance, and we have specialists on-staff in many areas of mental healthcare. Call (888) 726-7170 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about depression therapy.