Depression is not generally considered as part of aging. However, it has been established to be a significant concern in the elderly with studies showing that life changes occurring as we age may lead to feelings of uneasiness and sadness. These events include retirement, loss of loved ones, dealing with severe illnesses and adjusting to life after retirement (Rowser, 2010).
During this period of adjustment, many older adults may not be able to regain emotional balance which makes them develop depression.
In these older adults, recognition of depression may be difficult since they also show other symptoms than those present in younger people. For instance, they may have less obvious symptoms, and hence it may become difficult for doctors and physicians to recognize and diagnose depression. In some instances, these older people may appear tired, have difficulties in sleeping, they may be irritable and display confusion.
These symptoms overlap to other medical conditions such as stroke, heart disease, and cancer.For instance, confusion in these patients caused by depression resembles that of Alzheimer’s (Rowser, 2010).
Depression can significantly affect many aspects of these older adults. It affects a person’s energy, appetite, sleep, interest in work and hobbies. Depression in the elderly can be noticed by keeping watch for sadness and feelings of despair, unexplained and aggravated headaches, loss of interest in hobbies, weight loss, and feelings of hopelessness, lack of motivation, memory problems and loss of self-worth (Rowser, 2010).
Overcoming depression usually involves finding new things for enjoyment, staying physically fit, learning to change and self-motivation. Many a time, depression in the elderly is neglected. However in ensuring this condition is taken care of, elderly adults need to be given emotional support and treated with compassion so that they can feel accepted. Similarly, accurate diagnosis and treatment for this condition need to be made and professional help provided.