Identifying and effectively treating older patients who suffer from depression continues to be a challenge. Primary care providers (PCPs) tend to screen for and treat depression, and although well-intentioned, treatment in a primary care setting does not always yield the best outcome for older patients.
PCPs actually now screen patients for depression more often than they used to, however increased screening has not always led to better treatment. Depression in older adults can present differently than in younger patients, and PCPs who aren’t aware of that may underestimate the severity of depression in their older patients.
Nearly one in five Americans over the age of 65 struggles with depression, which can be a debilitating and life-threatening condition. Social isolation, illness and the loss of loved ones can all trigger or worsen depression, as can certain medications.
Center Communities of Brookline, one of HSL’s supportive housing communities, recently implemented a depression management program that delivers treatment, support and hope to seniors. The program, developed by Baylor College of Medicine, has been shown to reduce the severity of depression symptoms in older adults.
As the admissions counselor for Assisted Living at NewBridge on the Charles, I frequently talk to families of seniors about the advantages of an assisted living lifestyle. While supports like meal preparation, medication reminders and bathing and dressing help can be brought into a senior’s home, assisted living communities offer residents the added benefit of living among a community of peers and caring staff members. I’ve seen seniors not only gain the physical care they need but also regain access to the human connections that give life meaning and purpose. Here are some interesting facts about how even minimal daily social contact can improve an elder’s health:
It’s that time of year again when the days get shorter and colder. It is also the time of year when a condition known as fall-onset seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, becomes a problem for some older adults. I have blogged about this in the past, but with the shortest days of the upon us, I thought it would be helpful to revisit, and expand on the topic.
Many studies indicate that people with untreated hearing loss may be at an increased risk of depression. Further, when these people use hearing aids, they experience significant improvements in quality of life and a decrease in depressive symptoms. A study published in the Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics examined the effects of hearing aids on cognitive function and depressive signs in people 65 and older. Researchers found that after three months of using a hearing aid, all patients showed significant improvement in their psychosocial and cognitive conditions.
It’s no secret that New Englanders are well versed in the “winter blues.” With shortened daylight and chilly temperatures, it’s easy to feel sluggish and left longing for the summer months. For some people, however, depression during the winter is a serious problem. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that occurs the same time every year, usually beginning in the fall as the days get shorter.
While most seniors are happy, content and positive, others need assistance in helping them adjust to life's changes as they get older. It’s not uncommon for people of all ages to experience bouts of sadness but among seniors, depression can be a debilitating and life-threatening condition. Clinical depression is a disorder that affects mood, feelings, behavior and potentially physical health and is diagnosed when sadness is persistent or begins to affect a person’s ability to function normally.