One of the services that Lewisville doctors accepting new patients (locations also in Bedford and Benbrook) specialize in is geriatric medicine. As such, we make it a priority to offer insight and resources regarding conditions that may impact the older adult population differently or more frequently. This month, we are sharing information on depression in seniors. Read on to learn more about what to look for and how to help.
Older Adults & Depression
Clinical depression is a mood disorder categorized by overwhelming, persistent negative thoughts, feelings and/or actions that have lasted at least two consecutive weeks. It’s important for caregivers of older adults to know the signs and symptoms of depression to help advocate for their treatment. Often, at the onset of depression, an older adult will not recognize the change in himself or herself and it will fall on the caregiver to identify the need for a professional assessment.
Currently, the CDC estimates that approximately 1-5% of independent older adults are battling depression. However, that number is a bit higher for older adults who are hospitalized (11.5%) or require in home care (13.5%). It’s also important to note that older adults are at an increased risk for depression if they are also living with two or more additional chronic conditions.
Dangers of Senior Depression
Depression is a challenging diagnosis in and of itself. It can also cause other conditions to worsen because of the toll it takes on a person. Since older adults are already at risk for several health concerns, geriatric medicine Lewisville TX specialists (also in Bedford and Benbrook) urge those who care for them to be aware of the dangers of depression. The following are a few to take note of:
- Reduced motivation/ability to rehabilitate
- Increased chances of heart disease
- Increased chance of illness
- Increased chance of death following a heart attack
- Increased risk of suicide
Although there are some common symptoms in depression that help professionals and caregivers identify and diagnose the condition, seniors often exhibit some differences. For example, depression in older adults will typically last longer and may be masked by additional chronic conditions. Regardless, experts recommend being on the lookout for the following symptoms in your older loved ones:
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss in typical interests/hobbies
- Struggles sleeping
- Changes in eating habits (lack of appetite or overeating)
- Overwhelming feelings of hopelessness
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
How to Help
Your Family Medical encourages older adults to place a priority on keeping up with regular checkups with their primary care physician. The more your doctor knows about your ongoing conditions, abilities and challenges, the easier it will be for him/her to spot even the most subtle changes. We encourage older adults to schedule the next checkup appointment before leaving the current one, just as you would at the dentist.
If you are a caregiver for an older adult who is living with depression, we encourage you to learn all you can about depression in seniors. The more you understand your loved one’s condition, the more you will be able to help them manage their symptoms. Some days, helping them may be as simple as helping manage medication or helping them find a good fit for a counselor. Other days, it may involve just spending a little extra one-on-one time with them.
Board certified Geriatricians can cover a wide range of family medicine, men and women’s health, pharmacology care, and more. They can use a team approach by working with other specialists if needed, to provide you with the best care and overall health possible. They take personalized care seriously with the understanding that the body and all its complex systems change as you age. Here at Your Family Medical, our Geriatricians can provide you with the preventative care and treatments that work best for you.