Depression in the Elderly: More Facts
Posted October 4, 2016

We are focusing on depression in seniors as this week is National Mental Illness Awareness Week. Let’s begin with making sure we understand geriatric depression, as defined by HealthLine.

How Assisted Living Helps Reduce Depression in Seniors?

  • Living with Otherssenior living facilities allow for more socialization with people who are similar in age and abilities. Regularly visiting “friends” and caregivers in the facility gives seniors a feeling of community and belonging.
  • Activities – Scheduled activities help keep residents busy and active. Many activities include day trips to local events, eateries, celebrations and more.
  • Caregivers – Having personal caregivers to help them with daily activities can create a friendship and bond. It gives the seniors purpose; as they look forward to talking with their caregivers throughout the day.
  • Social Events – Social events are often scheduled within assisted living facilities. These social events not only help the residents feel like they’re a part of a “family” or group of people who care about each other but, they have reason to celebrate with happiness.
  • Meals – Depending on the type of facility they live in, seniors may dine with others or have meals prepared for them. Having regular meals prepared for them allows them to have a sense of regularity and calmness in their life.

Depression in Seniors Statistics

The statistics of depression in seniors:

  • Seniors Diagnosed with Depression – According to a report by the NIMH(C*C), there are an estimated 2 million seniors in America who have been diagnosed with depression. WebMD estimates that there are 6 million Americans with geriatric depression.
  • Depression is Not Acceptable – Contrary to belief, depression should not be accepted as part of the aging process. Embrace the idea of aging successfully, as it creates a better aging process that encourages a healthier mental status.
  • End of Life – Often the aging process is immediately associated with end of life preparation; however, this is not a true association. End of life does not typically encompass depression.
  • Increased Risk – Seniors are at an increased risk of depression if they have chronic illnesses. According to the CDC 80% of depressed seniors have at least 1 chronic illness and 50% have 2 or more.

Combating Depression in Senior Citizens

  • Depression often goes unrecognized – Many seniors will hide their depression and not mention any symptoms to their physicians. This is another reason why living in assisted living can be helpful; because caregivers and friends may take notice and address the possibility.
  • Treatment – Many senior citizens will not seek treatment on their own for a variety of reasons; one of which includes the fact that mental illness had been widely misunderstood and hidden in our country. Having others around them can actually help increase the probability of treatment occurring.
  • Recognizing Symptoms – It is important to understand that depression in seniors can be quite different than depression in younger adults. Recognizing the symptoms is a very important task.
  • Know the Risk Factors – WebMD helps point out the main risk factors of geriatric depression.

We know that you care about your senior loved one. Working with Senior Living Experts  to find the perfect living arrangements for them is one way to help decrease the risk of depression.
As we recognize this week as National Mental Illness Week we wanted to take this time to share not only the facts about depression in seniors but how we can help you make their life better.


(C*C) NIMH ECA prospective data, Narrow WE – “One year prevalence of depressive disorders among adults 18 and over in the U.S.”
Photo by bogitw (Pixabay)

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