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Depression: How to Recognize It in Seniors

Depression in older adults is relatively common. Yet, the causes and symptoms in this population tend to be misunderstood and too often overlooked. Medication interactions, life circumstances, and simple aging can make depression hard to recognize. Even though depression is never normal rodzaje depresji, older people tend to suffer from the condition in disproportionately high amounts and are a segment of the population least likely to get treatment.

More than seven million elderly adults suffer from depression. But, these huge numbers are in stark contrast to the fact that only about ten percent of these individuals ever receive treatment for the disorder. As a matter of fact, about five million older adults have what is called subsyndromal depression which is depression that is so “mild” as to not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depression. Subsyndromal depression is common in the elderly, and may indicate an increased risk of developing major depression. Recognizing and treating depression in older adults becomes especially important as the “Baby Boomer” generation ages and places unheard of pressures on healthcare in this country.

Depression is not “just part of getting old”
On average, from one to five percent of older people may suffer from depression. However, those numbers drastically increase to a whopping 13.5 percent for individuals who reside in a home or institutional healthcare setting. These numbers appear to indicate that older individuals needing more care may suffer from depression either because of the lack of control they feel they have over their own lives or because of existing medical conditions.

Depression occurs for a number of reasons. Like the rest of the population, senior citizens may experience depression for many of the same reasons. However, seniors also have a host of other issues that complicate things.

Factors that influence depression in the elderly
Several factors – including psychological factors, environmental factors, and physical factors – contribute to depression in the elderly. Any one or a combination of several of the following factors may be responsible for depression in older people.

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