Depression in the elderly: causes, detection, treatment and advice

Old age is a stage of human development fraught with new formations and crises that many people find it difficult to cope with. Old age is associated with our culture as a stage of progressive decline in cognitive abilities, As well as the period during which the cessation of working life takes place.

too much this vital stage is linked to the gradual degradation of the family roleAs in some cases, the elderly may decide to move away from their circles near places to retire to rest, meditate, or live while waiting for any task that pleases them.

Depression in old age

In addition, old age is usually a stage of emotional difficulties because changes occur not only in the social, work or family, but also appear certain chronic diseases such as migraines, muscle pain, rheumatism, loss of vision and hearing. Psychological and mental disorders are evident in many cases, along with dementia, anxiety attacks and depression.

Indeed, one of the most frequent affective disorders in the elderly is depression. WHO says more than one 20% of people over 60 have some type of depression, A figure which in the next 5 years will increase according to various studies. Depression in the elderly is therefore a psychological disorder that mobilizes the efforts of the scientific community to try to reduce the rate of affected people.

Theories on the elderly: detecting the factors of depression in the elderly

Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development (1975) elevates the stage of old age as the crisis stage between self-integrity and despair, Who realizes the need to positively influence the psychological health of the elderly so that they can face their time with greater well-being.

Many people think of old age as a borderline stage and degradation because it is no longer possible to carry out the same activities as before, this factor added to the loneliness caused by the death of loved ones, precarious economic levels, lack of activity and isolation are some of the triggers that can cause depression in old age.

Each year, residences or retirement homes welcome dozens of older adults who are victims of depression, which is the second most common disorder after dementia. While the vast majority of relatives tend to understand that the residences will be able to offer better medical and psychological follow-up to their eldest, few are on their grandfather’s side at this stage.

Old age is adapting to new changes, to a new lifestyle. It is the total consumption of the experiences learned during the human walk, a source of knowledge and also a stage of experiences and desires for the years which were in the past, and it is for this reason that when talking about depression in the past age, we must keep in mind that our own symptoms should not be confused with states of sadness and melancholy, which are mostly mild and transient and are very common in this cycle. No, depression is a disorder that has a prolonged duration and symptoms that indicate that there is an underlying disease that needs to be treated.

Elderly Depression Clinic

Depression at this stage can occur secretly, as noted by Morice Caballero (2000), stating:

“Depression usually occurs under the guise of a paranoid image or lurks in insomnia, pain, or other symptoms that are difficult to fit into a nosological image.”

For an accurate diagnosis, it must be done by integrating a medical, neurological and psychological assessment. The first helps us to confirm or exclude any type of anomaly that may exist and which influences the mood of the elderly person, the second, to delve into the area of ​​the nervous system in order to exclude any alteration of the cerebral regions, or dementia.

The psychological intervention will depend on the context in which the therapy is to be developed. Sometimes the job will become difficult due to the complexity of managing such cases and the slowness in getting results. Many professionals agree that, more than a specialty of psychology, psychogerontology is an act of service that not all mental health professionals are trained to perform, due to the difficulty and difficulty. exceptionality of each case.

How to help and intervene in an elderly person suffering from depression?

a) Everyone is different and as such should be prepared for any special circumstances that may require help for an elderly person with depression.. It should be remembered that at this stage it is common for patients to refuse to undergo any type of treatment, whether medical or psychological. In these cases, it is better to patiently advise him to follow a type of treatment and to accompany him during the same with the help of a loved one.

b) Help keep appointments with the psychologist in mind and, in the event that pharmacological therapy has been recommended (which in most cases is necessary), be vigilant on the days when the elderly person is due to take their medication.

c) Do enjoyable activities, such as going for a walk, reading a book, listening to music, Etc. The important thing is to keep the mind working with useful and learning activities in order to preserve your cognitive and physical skills.

Old age is a cycle that we all have to go through, so we need to be prepared to know how to deal with it in the healthiest way. Old age should not be a stage of uncertainty and deterioration, but a step that the person can realize in the contact with his family, his friendships and his daily life.

Bibliographical references:

  • Erikson, EH (1975). History of life and historical moment. New York: Norton.
  • Morice Caballero, ML (2000). Practical topics in geriatrics and gerontology. tom i

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