Older adulthood is often an enriching and rewarding time of your life, but it can also come with new challenges. When you age, you might find yourself coping with more chronic medical conditions, decreased mobility, and the passing of loved ones.
These changes can put you at risk for developing depression, especially if your medical conditions are serious enough to require home healthcare or hospitalization. Depression can be a serious condition, but the good news is, developing it as an older adult isn’t inevitable. Moreover, depression is a manageable and treatable condition.
Find out from geriatrics specialist Thomas Nguyen, MD and his team at Nguyen Medical Group in Boynton Beach, Florida, about what depression can look like in your golden years and what you can do to manage it.
What is depression?
Major depression is a medical condition that causes you to feel unhappy and low in your mood for an ongoing period of time, for most of the day. Symptoms of depression also include:
- Less interest in activities you previously enjoyed
- Reduced energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling worthless
- Under or oversleeping
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Suicidal thoughts
Major depression is different from feeling sad after going through a difficult time or experiencing grief after a death in your family. Sadness and grief for a certain time are typical reactions to some situations, while major depression lasts for a longer time period and impacts more areas of your life.
Major depression can occur as a reaction to challenging life events or simply as a change in your brain chemistry.
Depression in older adulthood
You can get depression at any age, but several factors make older adults more vulnerable. You’re more likely to have a chronic medical condition than when you were younger, and people with chronic physical challenges are at higher risk of developing depression.
Other unique challenges common to older adulthood can also sometimes cause you to develop depression. These include retirement, reduced income, loss of friends or a spouse, reduced mobility, and becoming more aware of your mortality.
Managing depression in your golden years
Having depression isn’t easy, but with the right treatment plan, you can cope with depression and happily enjoy your golden years. If you notice symptoms of depression in yourself or an older loved one, the first step is to reach out for help.
At Nguyen Medical Group, our clinical team performs a full medical history and examination to determine if you have depression. From there, we recommend treatment that reduces and manages your symptoms of depression.
For many older adults, taking medication helps their symptoms go away. These medications balance your brain chemistry, which causes your mood to improve.
Our team also supports you and any caregivers you have in making lifestyle changes that improve depression. Changes you can make include increasing your physical activity, spending more time with family and friends, and finding new activities you enjoy.
We might also refer you to see a therapist who specializes in older adults with depression. Therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy are proven to help reduce symptoms of depression.
Developing depression doesn’t have to mean spending your golden years feeling unhappy or listless. With an effective management plan, you’ll feel better than ever and live a lifestyle you enjoy. For a diagnosis or support in managing your depression from an experienced geriatrics specialist, contact us to make an appointment.