Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Older Adults

Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Older Adults

Depression is a common problem in older adults, with over two million people in this demographic suffering from it. The symptoms of elderly depression can affect every aspect of your life, impacting your energy levels, appetite, sleep, and interest in work, hobbies, and relationships. Here are several depression signs you should watch for as you age.

Decreased Interest in Socializing

Do you find yourself making excuses to get out of social engagements and trying to avoid invitations to see friends and family? If you find yourself staying in the house for days, weeks or months on end, it may not be because you’re a homebody. It could be a sign that depression is setting in, especially if you’re used to going out a few times a week.

Lack of Interest in Hobbies

Another sign of depression is a lack of interest in your hobbies. These activities used to be the highlight of your free time. Now, they act as a source of stress in your life. Picking up the hobby again might feel overwhelming, or you could feel completely apathetic about doing it.

While many people make the assumption that depression means you feel sad or upset all the time, a lack of emotion and feelings of apathy are also a common sign of this illness.

Increased Relationship Problems

Every relationship has its ups and downs, but depression can create many issues in the way you connect with other people. You may find yourself feeling like you’re a burden or a bother to your friends and family. Even long-term relationships can be subject to these feelings, which could lead to attempts to isolate yourself from your loved ones or causing fights that otherwise wouldn’t have happened.

Trouble Getting Out of Bed

Even getting out of bed might seem like an impossible task. You might not see the point of leaving your bedroom, especially if you live by yourself. No matter how hard you try, you find it difficult to motivate yourself. Household tasks, such as doing dishes or vacuuming, can fall behind and lead to a dirty home environment.

You may physically feel sore, with muscle aches, back pain, and neck stiffness. If you spend a lot of time in one position on your bed, you are at risk for bedsores. Dirty bedding may also result in rashes and other skin irritation.

Changes in Appetite

Are you eating significantly more or less than you usually do? Is your weight fluctuating in a way that doesn’t relate to your current eating habits? Pay close attention to any changes in appetite you encounter as you get older.

Depression may lead you to eat much more than you normally do or have you moving away from home-cooked foods and choosing to rely on processed food for your meals. On the other hand, it could result in you having no desire to eat at all. Either scenario can cause health issues in the short- and long-term, such as malnutrition, heart disease, and digestive problems.

Poor Hygiene

When you’re having problems eating and even getting out of bed due to depression, your hygiene also suffers. You may skip brushing your teeth, washing your hair or taking showers entirely.

Your self-esteem may suffer due to a lack of cleanliness and your personal relationships could also encounter problems. Physically, skin infections and sores may develop.

Shifts in Sleeping Patterns

Much like changes in your appetite, depression can cause you to sleep more or cause insomnia. You may find yourself sleeping long hours and waking up exhausted. If you spend much of your time in bed, frequent naps may occur throughout the day instead. On the flip side of this issue, insomnia could reduce your resting hours significantly.

Disordered sleeping is linked to many medical problems, so it’s important to watch out for this symptom. It doesn’t just indicate depression; it could be leading you to related illnesses.

No Motivation to Work

Do you find it difficult to go to work, whether you have your own company, work for someone else or have projects around the house? Depression leads to many motivation issues, and you may not feel the spark of interest that you once had for these tasks.

Procrastination sets in or you take much longer on tasks. You may feel frustrated or discouraged as a result of depression. If this mental illness gets in the way of you working, you could have financial problems or roadblocks in your career path.

What to Do If You Have Depression as an Older Adult

There are many resources available if you develop depression as you age. Keep a close eye out for these signs and symptoms of this mental illness and talk to your doctor if you’re worried about it. You may get a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist for therapy, antidepressant medication or a combination treatment plan.

Depression doesn’t need to get in the way of your active senior life. You can get ahead of this illness and manage it effectively with a proactive treatment plan that goes in place once you start noticing these symptoms.

Let Us Help

If you have questions regarding these or other concerns about depression contact the Aurum Network at (978) 282-9551 or use our, facility locator tool.

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