Depression in the Elderly Population


Depression in the elderly population is common in most parts of the world. The older persons are twice as likely to develop clinical symptoms of the disease condition compared to children and young adults with depression. The geriatric population tends to experience an incident of depression in the course of their aging life. In older adults, depressive symptoms are often difficult to detect and diagnose in early-onsets (Pilania et al., 2019).

Many scientists agree that alleviation of depression among the elderly individuals is due to sadness, hopelessness, and some physical changes. Alabarse et al. (2019) identified that such physical exercise as moderate-intensity walking training advanced depressive indicators in the geriatric population. In this regard, analyzing the clinical signs and behaviors of elderly persons with depression, lifestyle changes, and the consequences of hopelessness in the geriatrics population is critical before recommending a professional therapy.

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Elderly Population with Depression or Sadness from Lifestyle Changes and Losses

Identification of depression in older people is often time-consuming and challenging. Experts note that people experiencing depressive symptoms often lose interest in activities they initially adored, feel hopeless, and lose appetite. Alabarse et al. (2019) established that physical pain is one of the major clinical symptoms in depressed older individuals. According to Alabarse et al. (2019), sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activities are among the major factors that result in depression in the elderly population. Moreover, individuals with comorbidities and certain life-threatening conditions often develop depressive symptoms, thus, increasing the chances of identifying such signs as long periods of sadness and hopelessness as individuals become older.

Consequences of Depression in the Elderly Persons

Depression in the elderly population is associated with several severe consequences. For instance, it can result in physical incapacitation because of living an inactive lifestyle. Furthermore, it can cause significant damages to older people’s capacity to handle day-to-day activities. Consequently, depressive symptoms can upsurge the economic burden of the disease with increased costs of treatment. On a global scale, it affects approximately 322 million individuals and is the number one source of worldwide disability, contributing to over 7.5% as of 2015 (World Health Organization [WHO], 2017a).

It is a chief causal agent to suicidal deaths, approximately leading to more than 800,000 deaths per year (WHO, 2017a). In other research studies, depression in the elderly is linked with loss of mental and social functioning, and, to some extent, self-disregard (WHO, 2017b). In essence, depressive symptoms of the older population not only lower the quality of life but also impact the prognosis of other life-threatening diseases that further exacerbate debility.

Behaviors that Indicate an Individual with Depression Needs Therapy

Early diagnosis and identification of depressive symptoms can advance the quality of life. Certain behaviors indicate that there is a need for early therapies and disease control. For instance, isolation, loss of interest in performing daily activities, suicidal attempts, and refusal to adhere to medical prescriptions may point towards the need for more caregiving and close monitoring (Chan et al., 2018). In essence, patients in need of therapy are individuals who reveal destructive behaviors and the ability to self-harm. Visiting mental health therapists, joining programs that educate people about depression, psychological counseling, and partaking in behavioral changes provide improved quality of life in depressed older persons.

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Type of Depression Therapies and Reasons for their Recommendations

Cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) is psychotherapy, which provides essential treatment and management of depressive symptoms in the elderly population. CBT functions by reducing and eliminating destructive behaviors and unwarranted discerning patterns in individuals suffering from depression (Chan et al., 2018). In this regard, CBT replaces the dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviors into useful adaptive characteristics, which promote personal health and wellbeing. According to a research conducted on older people with depression, CBT program effectively changes the negative behavioral patterns (Chan et al., 2018).

The program stresses on the need for frequent practice and utilization of adaptive actions, which ensure that necessary skills are acquired (Chan et al., 2018). Specifically, patients undergoing CBT must practice the adaptive behaviors and learn them in sessions that guarantee the acquisition of the new wanted actions and loss of destructive patterns.

Such programs as support groups and campaigns are also common recommendations for therapies in depression in the elderly. In the programs, the patients are provided with educational programs and explanations that combine interpersonal connections with behavioral therapies. Moreover, the elderly are often facilitated with financial benefits in the treatment and management of depression. Complete lifestyle changes, which encompass physical exercise and healthy eating habits, thus, guarantee a decrease in developing of such life-threatening diseases as obesity, heart attacks, and hypertension are recommended therapies in the support group facilities.

In conclusion, analysis of the clinical symptoms and elderly behaviors with depression helps in formulating recommendations in cases where there is a need for professional therapy. For instance, such behaviors as sedentary lifestyle, poor eating habits, and lack of physical exercise require such activities and programs as CBT, physical exercise, and support groups, which act to lower the chances of developing life-threatening diseases. Hence, addressing the adverse effects of depression improves the quality of life in geriatrics population.

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Alabarse, S. L., Coelho Júnior, H. J., Asano, R.Y., Luna Filho, L., Santos, W. C., & Oliveira Filho. J. A. (2019). Moderate-intensity walking training improves depressive symptoms and pain in older adults with good quality of life: A controlled randomized trial. International Journal of Cardiovascular Sciences, 32(6), 553-562. Web.

Chan, P., Bhar, S., Davison, T. E., Doyle, C., Knight, B. G., Koder, D., Laidlaw, K., Pachana, N. A., Wells, Y., & Wuthrich, V. M. (2018). Characteristics of cognitive behavioral therapy for older adults living in residential care: Protocol for a systematic review. JMIR Research Protocols, 7(7), 1-17. Web.

Pilania, M., Yadav, V., Bairwa, M. Behera, P., Gupta, S. D., Khurana, H., Mohan, V., Baniya, G., & Poongothai, S. (2019). Prevalence of depression among the elderly (60 years and above) population in India, 1997-2016: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health, 19(832), 1-18. Web.

World Health Organization. (2017a). Depression and other common mental disorders: Global health estimates. Web.

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World Health Organization. (2017b). Mental health of older adults. Web.

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