Depression in the elderly is a common occurrence – impacting about 6 million adults 65 and older.

Today, March 20 is International Day of Happiness. It’s a day on the calendar dedicated solely to the idea of spreading happiness. We thought we’d take part by shedding a light on depression in the elderly, and showing you some ways to combat it.

For the older population, depression can often come in tandem with other diseases, and reduces a person’s ability to rehabilitate. A few common risk factors for depression in this age population include:

  • Living alone
  • Family history
  • Pain
  • Loss of a loved one

It’s important to understand that depression in the elderly may not manifest itself as sadness. Instead, it may come out as complaints about pain, lack of energy, or other physical problems associated with aging. In short, it can manifest itself in a general attitude, rather than sadness.

How to Treat Depression in the Elderly

Like with any age, the common treatments for depression in the elderly are medicines and psychotherapy. Both can help in combating depression. Certain lifestyle changes may help as well, depending on the individual.

Some potential ways for a loved one to combat depression:

  • Keep learning and trying new activities – This may mean reading books or picking up a new hobby.
  • More face-to-face interactions – It’s never too late to make new friends.
  • Volunteer – Giving your time to the local food pantry or other organizations can be a great way to find fulfillment.
  • Stay active – Even if it’s short walks, small bursts of physical activity can help combat depression.
  • Eat healthy – Diet and nutrition can drastically improve the way you feel.
  • More time in the sun – This improves serotonin levels and can boost your mood.

If your loved one is depressed it’s important to acknowledge their feelings and be there to listen. You can encourage them to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. It’s not uncommon for a majority of seniors to be stuck in their homes. We (RampNOW) have the privilege of providing affordable ramps and outdoor stair lifts that allow people to finally get outside and not only enjoy the sunshine but also have a sense of independence in doing what they really want to do.

RampNow would like to wish everyone the very best International Day of Happiness possible. For many, that means finding the proper treatment regiment for depression. Remember, you are not alone. Depression in the elderly is common. With the right approach, the effects can be minimized.