Depression in Seniors: Causes and Symptoms

General Health

Depression in Seniors: Causes and Symptoms

About 20% of adults aged 60 and above suffer from a mental or neurological disorder like dementia and depression.

Depression is a mental condition that affects people of all ages, gender, and ethnicity. It is a universal medical concern that is currently affecting 300 million people across the globe (WHO). About 20% of adults aged 60 and above suffer from a mental or neurological disorder like dementia and depression. In this article, we talk about the latter because depression is a treatable condition provided that you get the right medical attention.

What is depression?

Depression causes you to have persistent feelings of sadness. It is different from grief since this medical condition can prevent individuals from leading functional lives if left untreated. People who are living with depression lose interest in their usual routines and may even lead to self-injury or suicide. Senior citizens are not an exemption since they are also at risk due to physiological and emotional factors of aging.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a depressed person has “feelings of sadness or anxiety that last for weeks at a time.” Watch out for signs of depression which may include:

  • Feelings of guilt, hopelessness
  • Always feeling grumpy/irritated
  • Sleeping too much
  • Insomnia
  • Losing interest in former hobbies
  • Unexplained body pain, digestive problems



Sadly, certain illnesses come with age, and having certain diseases may put older adults at risk of developing depression, like Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The National Institute on Aging states that older adults may also develop vascular depression, which is a result of ischemia (restricted blood flow to the organs, including the brain). Other probable causes of depression include:

  • Recent loss of a spouse
  • Those who are suffering from chronic pains/illnesses
  • Lack or no support from family and friends
  • Those with a medical history of depression

Depression is a common and treatable condition, so do not lose hope. It is not a phase wherein you can just snap out of since medical treatment may be needed for you to fully recover. Create a safe space for yourself and schedule an appointment with a licensed psychiatrist. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from other people if you need it.   If you feel that you are suffering from depression, seek support from your family and trusted friends. Book a session with a psychiatrist who may be able to guide you through your recovery process. Never take any form of medication without the proper prescription of a health professional.

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