Depression and Older Adults

Published: June 02, 2015

By: Diane VonArx, social services manager, LIFE Armstrong County


As we age we are faced with many changes in our life. Some of these changes include retirement, the death of loved ones, children moving away, changes in our living environment, increased isolation, and medical problems which can all lead to depression. Depression is a mental and emotional disorder that affects older adults. It is a wide spread problem, but is not a normal part of aging. Depression in older adults is often not recognized or treated.

Causes of Depression:

  • Family history of depression
  • Traumatic life events
  • Limited mobility
  • Isolation
  • Transitioning from work to retirement
  • Financial hardship
  • Chronic pain or illness
  • Loss of independence
  • Health problems
  • Sleep problems

Signs of Depression:

  • Sadness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of interest in doing things
  • Anxiety
  • Social withdrawal
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Fixation on death or suicidal thoughts

If you are exhibiting any signs or symptoms of depression which last longer than 2 weeks, speak with your doctor to rule out other medical issues and to discuss possible methods of treatment.

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