Depression in the elderly is...unfortunately, a common occurrence due to loneliness, lack of family support or because of chronic illnesses. Very often depression in the aged is not reported and treated due to the social stigma attached with this condition or due to plain ignorance on part of the family of the elderly person. This not only doesn't help them, but can worsentheir condition and make them susceptible to other ailments...including sometimes suicide.
Also, elderly depression can occur due to the death of a spouse...which increases lonliness. Also, side-effects from certain medicines or due to certain long-term illnesses like diabetes and arthritis can have a profound effect on depression. The depression must be treated as soon as possible. Without fast treatment, it can lead to suicidal tendencies on part of the patient or death from premature heart attack, stroke and other serious diseases. One group known to be at risk from depression in the elderly include widowed women. Others at high risk are those not being able to cope with stress in their lives. Low self-confidence due to diseases like cancer and loss of limb causing disfigurement can easily lead to depression. Many elderly may have a family history of depression and get depressed due to apprehension of dying. Some elderly may have an addiction to alcohol or drugs contributing to their depression.
So, what can be done to help depression in the aged? Counseling and a therapy of antidepressants can help. (note: always see a licensed therapist and physican). The therapist will prescribe antidepressants if they feel they are required. During initial prescriptions of these drugs the patient has to be watched carefully as the side-effects and results of a reaction can be serious. These medicines show their effect over a period of time since they are given in small doses. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to have a medical alertalarm for the depressed person just in case they feel the need to contact emergency personnel.
Psychotherapy is very effective in dealing with depression in the elderly as the patient can share their feelings and insecurities with the therapist. This helps them to identify the main problem and initiates a curative process to overcome depression. Of course, a loving family can help tremendously. Depression is a sensitive issue which, can be treated with love and patience along with therapy and medication.