Occasional “blue” moods and feelings of sadness are normal. But when it lasts for longer than two weeks and accompanied with other symptoms that are already affecting every aspect of your life (sleep, appetite, relationships, etc.), that’s not considered normal anymore.
Know that depression is not a normal part of aging. If left untreated, it can be detrimental to your health and your relationships.
Yes, depression can be treated with the right support, therapies and self-help strategies. Unfortunately, most depressed older adults fail to recognize the symptoms or take action to get the help that they need.
Here are 12 signs and symptoms that signal Depression in older adults:
1. Persistent sadness and feeling of emptiness.
2. Feelings of worthlessness and worries about being a burden.
3. Loss of interest in any hobby or activity.
4. Neglect of responsibilities and personal care (meals, hygiene and medications).
5. Withdrawing self from family and friends.
6. Lack of motivation in the morning.
7. Moodiness or Irritability.
8. Fixation on death or suicidal thoughts.
9. Sleep disturbances (oversleeping or not sleeping at all).
10. Unexplained physical disturbances (headaches, pain, stomach upset, nausea, change in bowel habits)
11. Loss or change of appetite
12. Significant Weight Loss or Weight Gain
If you think you or a loved one has depression, the first step is to talk to a medical practitioner. The doctor or health care provider will review the medical history, make an assessment and run a series of tests to evaluate the condition and make a proper diagnosis. If diagnosed with Depression, doctors or therapists will develop a personalized treatment plan for you. So each person is different. What works for others may not work for you and vice versa. Bottom line is that you should not ignore the red flags. Seek help right away.