Frequently Asked Questions About Depression For Older People

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My grandmother was the bubbliest person I had ever known. She lived in the same house in Florida with my grandfather for five decades and never wanted to move to another neighborhood. She even said, “Even when we cannot walk anymore, you can just send nurses here to take care of us, but we are not leaving this house.”

Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away two years ago. It felt sudden for all of us, considering no one knew about his cardiovascular disease except for him. Even my grandmother was unaware of it. She told us that Gramps had many medications, and she never heard him complain about chest pains, so she never suspected anything. Then, when his cardiologist went to his wake, he informed us that my grandfather had been dealing with it for three years already. He could have lived longer by getting angioplasty, but he signed a form, which practically stated that he should no longer be revived if things got worse. 

We all honored Gramps’ wishes, but my grandmother felt bitter about it. She could not believe that he lied to her about something that grave – and brought the lie to his grave. “It’s as if I never knew him at all,” she said one day.

Of course, we knew that my grandmother did not mean that. However, we could not tell her what to feel because it must really sting to know that you had been lied to by your soulmate. We did not account that my grandmother became depressed after that, and her body weakened. We only learned about it after she got hospitalized, and her doctor mentioned his concerns about my grandmother not wanting to live anymore.

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What is the most common cause of depression in older adults?

There are a number of different reasons why many older adults experience depression as they age. One of these reasons could be isolation, where they live alone without their family’s support and love. Another reason could be their health conditions. What they are feeling physical, especially when it becomes terminal, can cause them to feel depressed as anyone would be. Of course, a reduced sense of purpose can also cause their depression as their movements are now limited, making them feel nothing left for them to do.

Is there an age limit for depression?

There is no age limit for depression. No matter how old you are, there is a risk for depression. However, depression may look different for the different age groups. The mental illness symptoms can differ between a ten-year-old with depression and a seventy-year-old with depression. But then again, there is no age limit for this. Anyone can be at risk.

What percent of the elderly population suffers from clinical depression?

The estimated number of elderly who suffer from clinical depression is low to five percent. However, this may rise to 13.5 percent for those who now require healthcare at home and 11.5 percent for those elderly patients who are in the hospital due to their physical illnesses. It is good to note that this number is relatively low, meaning a bigger portion of the population for the elderly who live happy lives.

What is the best antidepressant for the elderly?

It is always best that consultation is made before taking any medications to avoid any clashes between the antidepressants and the possible drugs that the elder is taking. This will ensure that you are protecting your loved ones from even more issues. There are three which the SSRIs consider to be reasonably safe for elders to use due to their profile. These are Citalopram, Escitalopram, and Sertraline.

What is considered old age for a woman?

There is a study that divides being “old” into three categories. The first category is young-old, where the age group is around 60 to 69 years old. Another class is Middle-aged, where the people in this category are aged 70 to 79. Lastly, there are very old, where people who are 80 years old and above. Other studies have different subgroups, which will depend on who you want to base your grouping on. 

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How can I help my elderly loneliness?

There are different ways that you can help with the elderly’s depression. A quick rundown for these ways, you can help give them a sense of purpose, and you can encourage social interactions through physical activities and maybe trusting them with a chore or two. Of course, you should always make them feel loved and supported but if you feel that this is not enough, consult with a doctor to get the necessary help.

Who is at greatest risk for depression?

A number of different factors can determine whether a person is at high risk for depression, such as genetics, loss of a loved one, abuse and trauma, illnesses, substance or alcohol abuse, isolation, and more. People who have been through – or are going through – these factors are the most at risk for developing depression. So, keep an eye on those you love. Consult a doctor if needed.

What race is most affected by depression?

African Americans and Hispanics are the most affected by depression. The study concluded that those in the minority are more at risk and are more affected by depression than Caucasians or whites. Although more recent studies have shown that there is no specific race that is most affected nor most at risk. 

Which age group has the highest rate of depression?

In 2019, it was recorded that major depression was most common in adults aged 18 to 25 years old. They had comprised 13.1% of the statistic, and to break this number down, it was most common among adult females at 8.7% than the adult males who stood at 5.3% of the statistic. In the United States alone, depression among adults is represented by 7.1%. 

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Final Thoughts

Despite my grandmother’s objections, we brought her to a nursing home. It was not because no one wanted to take care of her – it was more because we knew that she would do better around people her age. In the nursing home that we chose, they had many seniors’ activities, including some sports. The gloomy grandmother that we left there that day turned out to be bubbly again after two months.