Friday, March 26, 2010

Depression In Epidemic Proportions Among American Seniors

Holidays are an exciting time for most people. They often mean getting together with family and friends. But to those who have lost a dear one, are dealing with medical issues, have children who have moved far away, and do not have a strong support system in place, holidays evoke feelings of depression.

It's normal to grieve for a loss of independence, health and mobility. What's not healthy is a sadness that lasts an extended period of time.

According to the National Institute of Health, 20% of seniors are depressed.

Doctors, only, can officially determine if a senior is suffering from depression. Generally, he/she determines if any of the criteria below apply to his patient and if so, what kind of medication or treatment is called for:

1. Feeling nervous or emotionally "empty"
2. Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
3. Fatigue
4. Restlessness and/or irritability
5. Feeling that life is not worth living
6. Sleep problems
7. Eating more or less than usual
8. Persistent headaches, stomachaches or chronic pain that persists

This condition should be ignored. Please encourage these people to speak to their families and their physicians about getting some hope and happiness back into their lives.

For more on depression among the elderly, please visit


Unknown said...

This is a clear indicator that mental health should be a priority when caring for an elder. Family should search senior homes in your neighborhood by state or city to make sure their loved ones are living close by.

Ms. 50something said...

There's nothing like a caring family member to advocate for you.