Did you know that depression is often misdiagnosed in seniors? You may be mistaking it for a common sign of aging. Learning the signs of depression in seniors can help you spot the difference, and know when it’s time to do something about it.
Signs of Depression in Seniors
Unfortunately, many seniors miss the warning signs of depression because they attribute them to aging, medication changes, or life events. Seniors also may be uncomfortable speaking frankly about their feelings, which makes it difficult to reach out and ask for help. Even well-meaning family members and medical professionals can miss this condition entirely. As a result, seniors sometimes do not get the help they need.
It’s important to know the signs of depression in seniors because depression is a treatable medical condition. It will not go away on its own, but if you are aware you suffer from it, you can seek assistance that will significantly improve the quality of your life. Understanding that you may be dealing with depression can be your first step on the path to feeling better. Below are the most common signs of depression in seniors.
Sadness is not the only sign of depression, but unexplained sadness can be a symptom. If you experience a low mood without reason for over two weeks, you should speak to your doctor about a potential depression diagnosis.
Feeling “Slowed Down”
Fatigue is a frequent complaint of those who suffer from depression, regardless of their age group. Some slowing down in your senior years is expected. However, the fatigue caused by depression can make everything feel harder than it needs to be. If you don’t have the energy to get out of bed most days, or to take care of everyday hygiene like showering and brushing your teeth, depression might be why.
Feeling Worthless or Hopeless
One of the most difficult elements of depression for many is a persistent feeling of hopelessness. Depression can make you feel like getting help is impossible, or like you aren’t worth the effort. If you feel this way, please know that this is a very common symptom of depression and not a rational thought. You are worth it, and you should seek the help you need.
Sadness is not the only mental symptom of depression. Many people with depression suffer from various forms of cognitive difficulty. This is one of the reasons it can be mistaken for other conditions related to aging. You may be frequently confused, or struggle to follow along with conversations. It also may be difficult to concentrate on something like a crossword puzzle. Mental confusion can be a symptom of many conditions, but if you’re experiencing it alongside any of the other symptoms described here, depression could be a likely cause.
Depression can be isolating for the people who experience it. Due to the lack of energy and low mood common to the condition, hobbies and social interactions can come to feel like a chore. If you have found yourself withdrawing from things lately, consider why, and if depression might be the cause.
Difficulty Eating and Sleeping
Changes in sleep and appetite are another one of those things we expect with age. However, if they change to the point that they’re making you feel unwell, that can indicate another serious health issue. Are you sleeping through multiple alarms, or are you suddenly unable to drift off no matter what you do? Are you eating your feelings every day, or do you frequently forget to eat at all? Sudden changes to your sleep schedule or appetite can indicate issues with depression, so be sure to pay attention to these cues.
If some of these signs of depression in seniors sound familiar to you, consider reaching out to a trusted loved one or medical professional. Depression is a difficult condition, but once you can access a treatment that works for you, better days are ahead.
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities make it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. We would be happy to schedule a tour for you so that you can explore the community, speak with the Community Director, meet some of the residents, and ask any questions you might have. To learn more about our amenities and services, please call 901-266-3329 (Bartlett) or 901-854-6590 (Collierville). We look forward to meeting you!