Depression is one of the most common mental diseases seen during elderliness.
The fact that elderliness is accepted as a property of depressive symptoms both by the relatives of the patients and doctors is one of the factors which make it difficult to recognize depression. 1
The biological and psychological changes caused by aging appear slowly in years or decades and there is no specific age limit at which people can be accepted as elderly. 1
Therefore, typically, elderly patients with depression do not report depressed moods but instead present with less specific symptoms such as insomnia, anorexia, and fatigue. 1
Even if elderly persons sometimes dismiss less severe depression as an acceptable response to life stress or tiredness, it is a common cause of disability, among its consequences are reduced life satisfaction and quality, social deprivation, loneliness, increased use of health and home care services, cognitive decline, impairments in activities of daily living, suicide, and increased nonsuicide mortality. 2
Unfortunately, several studies show that anxiolytics and hypnotics are commonly prescribed for depressed elderly patients instead of antidepressants. But depression is not anxiety, is not a sleep disorder, is a much more impactufull and complex disease which need to be appropriately treated. 2
Depression is never a normal part of aging.
Aging peacefully is a right of our loved ones that we must protect and give them all the support they need to be able to enjoy their children, grandchildren, retirement and the pleasures that even this phase of life is able to give.
Speak with your parents and ask to your doctor.
- Sözeri-Varma G. Depression in the Elderly: Clinical Features and Risk Factors. Aging and Disease 2012; 6:465-471.
- Steffens DC et al. Prevalence of Depression and its treatment in an elderly population. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2002; 57: 601-607.