Posted by: Bert Copple | May 19, 2010

Elderly Depression

Depression in the elderly can be a challenging diagnosis, as they may be less open about their sadness, and other medical conditions tend to dominate their care.

“It’s often unrecognized, untreated,” Dr. Prasad Padala, a psychiatrist at the VA Medical Center and University of Nebraska Medical Center, said in an Omaha World-Herald article.

According to the article, elderly people aren’t more inclined to become depressed than the general population, but they are more prone to suicide. Some family members also tend to think depression is a natural result of the losses that come with aging, and they don’t view it with the urgency they might in a younger person.

While statistics vary, the World-Herald reports experts generally say about 15 percent of people 65 and older struggle with depression, somewhat lower than the population at large. However, the National Institute of Mental Health reports people in this age bracket committed suicide at a rate that was 30 percent higher than the general population in 2004.

People age 65 and older who are struggling tend not to identify themselves as being sad or depressed. “Stigma still is a big issue,” said Dr. Subhash Bhatia, a psychiatrist at the VA Medical Center and Creighton University in Omaha. “It’s more honorable to have your stomach hurting than saying ‘I am depressed.’”

Depression is a treatable condition, says Dr. Arun Sharma of Alegent Health. “The treatments are available. They’re safe, and they’re effective.”

If you have a loved one who is feeling depressed or if you suspect they are, please do not hesitate to call Home Instead Senior Care. We offer caregivers that not only provide their expected duties of helping around the house, but they are excellent companions as well. They will get mom or dad back into activities, up off of the couch and talking again. Having a companion to talk to may be all your loved one needs to feel right as rain again.  So think about it, then give us a call and we will be more than happy to bring your loved one into the Home Instead family.


Home Instead Senior Care will provide outstanding caregivers to help your loved one with personal care, incidental travel, companionship, medication reminders, light housekeeping, and even meal preparation. To learn more, call 248-203-2273 or visit Home Instead Senior Care is the world’s trusted source of in-home non-commercial personal care and companionship for seniors. Each franchise is independently owned and operated. And remember, to us, it’s personal.


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