Welcome to the October issue of Aging Well Journal Newsletter. This month our feature story discusses depression and older adults. Learn about common symptoms and treatments, and get screened if necessary because October is National Depression Screening Month.
Depression Is Not…
…A Normal Part of Aging.
Everyone feels blue or sad now and then. But these feelings usually don’t last long and do not interfere with daily life and normal function. Although depression is common in older adults, sadness may not be the main symptom. Seniors may not readily talk about their symptoms and therefore doctors are less likely to suspect depression making it hard to distinguish from grief. Grief is normal after the death of a loved one, moving from work into retirement or dealing with a serious illness. But major depression is a morbid preoccupation with worthlessness. It is often prolonged and makes daily activities very difficult.
Sadness and loss of interest are typical. But older adults many also feel confused or forgetful. They may stop seeing friends and doing things. They may not sleep or eat well. Often there is a lack of focus, inability to concentrate or remember details. Depression often occurs with dementia which is why it is important to see your doctor for an assessment and diagnosis.
How Is Depression Treated?
Medications called antidepressants can work well to treat depression. They often take several weeks to work. They can have side effects. Psychotherapy can help treat depression by changing old habits and by helping the individual work through difficult relationships or situations that are contributing to the depression. For very severe depression, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) may be recommended when medicines and therapy don’t work.
There’s no one cause of depression. Sometimes it’s genetic. Other times depression may be caused by past physical, sexual or emotional abuse. Depression may be the result of a reaction to death or loss. Serious illness, personal problems and substance abuse can all lead to depression.
There is Hope!
Treatment is the key. Depression is a medical condition and requires medical care. There are good medicines and good treatments available. So see your doctor!
Call AW Health Care (314) 726-5600. We have a social worker who can talk with you! AW also has a screening tool for depression which can be helpful.
Family Members Can Help!
Let your loved one know you care about them. Offer your support. Listen to their feelings.
Stay in contact with your loved one
Encourage doctor visits
Find local services and support groups to put you in contact with area resources.
Call AW (314) 726-5600…Our nurses can help you with your medication set up and questions!
Have a Booo-tiful Halloween!