Each year on April 7th, the World Health Organization (WHO) spotlights a health issue that affects people worldwide. This year, Senior Lifestyle is joining the conversation, which is focused on depression with the theme “Depression: Let’s talk.” WHO estimates that over 300 million people worldwide struggle with depression, an 18% increase from 2005 to 2015.
Why the increase? Several factors may be responsible, including the fear of stigma, a generalized misunderstanding about what depression really is, and for some, a lack of access to support for the condition. Many people delay seeking treatment due to a combination of these factors. While statistics often focus on the effects of depression on young people, older adults are often found to be at an increased risk for depression as well.
For older adults, additional ailments such as arthritis and heart disease often complicate treatment for depression in seniors, giving rise to the notion that it is a normal reaction to the life changes associated with aging and illness. However, depression in seniors is NOT a normal part of aging, but is common and treatable with medications and psychotherapy, according to the CDC. At Senior Lifestyle, our focus is not just on physical health, but the emotional, mental and spiritual health of the seniors we serve; we get to know our residents on a personal level to provide the best care possible.
Caregivers need to be aware that changes in circumstance can be quite stressful and difficult for a senior to accept, and watch closely for symptoms of depression. Knowing the signs of depression in seniors allows for early intervention and positive outcomes for loved ones. For more information about World Health Day, or for information on resources for depression in seniors, please visit the Senior Lifestyle website to find the community expert nearest you.