Depression among the elderly

Depression in elderly people often goes untreated because many people think that depression is a normal part of aging and a natural reaction to chronic illness, loss and social transition. For the elderly population, depression can come in different sizes and shapes. Many elderly people and their families don't recognize the symptoms of depression, aren't aware that it’s a medical illness, and don't know how it’s treated. Others may mistake the symptoms of depression as signs of:

• Dementia
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Arthritis
• Cancer
• Heart disease
• Parkinson’s
• Stroke
• Thyroid disorders

Also, many older persons think that depression is a character flaw and are worried about being made fun of or of being humiliated. They may blame themselves for their illness and are too ashamed to get help. Others worry that treatment would be too costly.

Your members, their family or caregivers may reach out to you as the PCP for further depression assessment and service referral.