Older people are less likely than people in younger age groups to report depression. They may not even believe or accept that they are sad or depressed.
Signs of depression in adults over 65 may include unexplained physical symptoms, memory loss and behavioural changes.
Causes of depression in older people
The causes of depression in older people vary and depend on when the depression was first experienced.
If the person first experienced depression earlier in life, the likely causes will include genetic and personality factors, and life experiences. If they first experienced it later in life, physical health problems may be the cause.
Social isolation and loneliness as well as loss are also common causes of depression in people aged over 65.
Treatment of depression in older people
Treatments for depression in old age are similar to the treatments given to other age groups, although they can differ in the way in which they are applied.
Age does not reduce the effectiveness of treatments for depression. However, if depression in old age is left untreated it can have many adverse effects.
Lifestyle changes in mid-life may be the key to preventing depression in old age.
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Last reviewed: January 2018