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Depression and old people

  • Older people are less likely than other age groups to report depression and may not acknowledge being sad, blue or depressed.
  • Depression in old age often goes undetected and may be wrongly attributed to age, dementia or poor health.
  • Signs of depression in adults over 65 can include unexplained physical symptoms, memory loss, and various behavioural changes.
  • Causes of depression in old age will vary according to when the depression was first experienced. If depression was first experienced earlier in life, genetic, personality and life experiences will be likely causes; whereas if the depression is first experienced later in life, physical health problems may be the cause.
  • Social isolation and loneliness commonly accompany depression in adults over 65.
  • Untreated depression in old age has many adverse effects.
  • Treatments for depression in old age are similar to those for other age groups, but can be different in the way they're applied.
  • Age does not reduce the effectiveness of treatments for depression.
  • Lifestyle changes in mid-life may be the key to preventing depression in old age.
  • Your doctor is the best first port of call if you're over 65 and experiencing depression.

Source: Black Dog Institute (In over 65s)

Last reviewed: September 2015

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