Specialisation: Elderly

Depression in Older Adults

Chronic melancholy, a lack of optimism, and a lack of interest in previously pleasurable activities are hallmarks of depression in older people. It is a frequent problem that can seriously affect someone’s physical and mental health and quality of life. Both patients and medical professionals need to be aware of the signs and symptoms of depression in the elderly, as this population is prone to being undiagnosed and untreated. Sleep disturbances, feelings of sadness that do not go away, difficulty focusing, an overwhelming sense of guilt or worthlessness, and a loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities are commonly associated with depression. Alterations in physical characteristics, such as weariness, gastrointestinal distress, and a loss of appetite, may also be present. Many things can contribute to depression in older adults, including physiological and psychological stresses, environmental shifts, and loneliness (Maier et al.,2021). Many of these concerns are not exclusive to the elderly, and depression can strike people of any age. Medication, counseling, and behavioral modifications are only some options for treating depression in the elderly. Psychotherapy can help treat various conditions.

The article “Depression in the Elderly. Consensus Statement of the Spanish Psychogeriatric Association” by Agüera-Ortiz et al. (2020) reports on a consensus on geriatric depression promoted by the Spanish Psychogeriatric Association. This study employs the Delphi technique to reach a consensus on various topics related to treating depression in the elderly and then conduct two separate analyses using those findings. One discusses picking the right antidepressant medication for a person based on their other medical conditions. The other looks at ways to better spot and treat depression in the older population. The study indicates that despite the frequency and significance of depression in the elderly, the topic is still understudied and often contentious. Important findings and suggestions for spotting and treating depression in the elderly are provided in this article.

Maier et al. article comprehensively analyze the factors that increase or decrease the likelihood of developing depression in persons aged 65 and up. Physical health issues, mental retardation, social isolation, and stressful life experiences were all recognized as risk factors for the development of depression in this population by the review. Strong social support, regular exercise, and engagement in worthwhile endeavors all help protect older persons from developing depression (Maier et al.,2021). The authors stress the importance of therapies that focus on these protective and risk factors to combat depression and improve the emotional health of the elderly. In sum, the study is a helpful resource for understanding the causes and risk factors for depression in the elderly and potential solutions to this serious public health problem.

“Prevalence and Determinants of Depression among Old Age” article does a meta-analysis and systematic review of the prevalence and causes of depression in the elderly. Seventy studies that satisfied the authors’ inclusion criteria were found after a comprehensive search of electronic databases. Estimates for depression in the elderly ranged from 5% to 63% (Zenebe et al.,2021). The study also found that women, the poor, the uneducated, those with physical sickness, and those with cognitive disabilities all had a higher risk of developing depression than men. The authors conclude that older persons’ rates of depression are high enough that preventative measures and outreach programs aimed at this demographic are warranted.

Depression is a severe problem that needs to be addressed, especially among the elderly. It is worth noting that indicators of depression in this age group could look different than in others. Physical signs of depression, such as weariness, discomfort, and digestive disorders, may be more common in the elderly than the typical psychological symptoms of depression. Loved ones and medical professionals must recognize these shifts and manage the elderly accordingly. Older folks can take charge of their mental health and quality of life with the correct amount of encouragement and tools.

Works Cited

Agüera-Ortiz, Luis, et al. “Depression in the Elderly. Consensus Statement of the Spanish Psychogeriatric Association.” Frontiers, Frontiers, 16 Apr. 2020, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00380/full.

Maier, Alexander, et al. “Risk Factors and Protective Factors of Depression in Older People 65+. A Systematic Review.” PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, 13 Apr. 2021, https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0251326.

Zenebe, Yosef, et al. “Prevalence and Determinants of Depression among Old Age: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – Annals of General Psychiatry.” BioMed Central, BioMed Central, 18 Dec. 2021, https://annals-general-psychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12991-021-00375-x.