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9 signs that your parents, grandparents may be depressed

Published on:12 August 2021, 19:00pm IST
Depression among the elderly is more common than you think. So, make sure you take time out and figure out the signs and symptoms before it’s too late.
Geetika Sachdev
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World mental health day
Caregivers need to pay attention to their mental health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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There are several issues that are associated with old age. Not only does this population suffer from physical issues, but some of them also go through mental hardships. Chat up with them and you will know that some of them have lost interest in the activities they would love earlier. There are a few who find it hard to get past even a single day. But it is important to understand that these are all tell-tale signs of something that needs to be addressed: elderly depression.

For the unversed, elderly depression can affect several areas of several areas of their life, including their energy, appetite, sleep and relationships. What really happens is that many of them don’t recognise the early signs and symptoms. Instead, they believe that it is a part and parcel of aging. In fact, sometimes, even the physical symptoms can be a sign of depression, but they are brushed aside.

depression in elderly
Apart from physical ailments, many old people might also suffer from mental stress. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Signs and symptoms of depression in older adults

There are some common signs and symptoms of depression that must be noticed:

-Sadness or feelings of despair
-Unexplained or aggravated aches and pains
-Disinterest in socialising
-Weight loss
-Feelings of helplessness
-Lack of motivation
-Difficulty in sleeping
-Loss of self-worth
-Memory problems

What are the causes of depression in older adults?

The incidence of depression in older adults is far more common than you think. That is because especially in the older age, there are more significant life changes that can contribute to depression. They could be anything from health problems, chronic disability, cognitive issues, damage to body image or sickness.

depression in elderly
Mental health problems in the elderly are far more prevalent than we realise. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Depression could also be triggered by loneliness and isolation. Factors such as living alone or a diminishing social circle, as well as decreased mobility, are also causes of depression.

Some of them also have a reduced sense of purpose, especially due to the loss of identity or self-confidence. Lack of financial security can also have a huge impact.

So what is the best way to deal with it?

Although it does seem like elders can’t do much to deal with the problem, that isn’t the case. You can learn as many new things as you want, even after this age. Even small steps like taking a walk or reaching out to friends and family to stay connected is always a good plan. Of course, support matters. If socialising outside is not an option, calling people over is a good idea.

Going out otherwise too (with proper Covid-19 precautions) is also suggested. Staying at home all day can be frustrating, and trigger depression. Volunteering is also said to help mental health, and at the same time, provides a channel to expand social networks.

Getting a pet or indulging in gardening or any other peaceful activity reinvigorates the mind too!

Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.