Elderly Depression

Several disorders are more prevalent to the older generation. The most common include dementia and depression. Depression causes a continued sentiment of sadness and lack of interest. It affects how one reasons, feels and acts (Harvath & McKenzie, 2012). Though depression occur to people of all ages, it is more common to the older people mainly because it is hard to treat and control it when it comes to the old adults. Opposite to popular belief, depression is not an emotional weakness rather it is a serious condition, which requires long-term treatment. With proper medication and counseling, one can recover from the disorder. For most of the people with depression, the symptoms are severe and noticeable in the day-to-day activities.

Depression in adults is different in that treatment is hard. Dealing with old people in a therapy session can be hard as compared to young people. In most cases, therapy seeks to offer hope and change one’s way of thinking. For young people, there is still time to make life changes, which can offer hope. However, with the older people, changing their way of thinking about life may seem hard given that there are no life dreams to look forward to. Take for example an old man who is depressed and is contemplating suicide. In therapy, the practitioner has to instill some hope in the man, which may be hard given the circumstances.


Among the major symptoms of depression in the older adults, include:

  • Physical aches and pain
  • Changes in personality and memory lapses
  • Loss of appetite, fatigue, low libido, and lack of sleep none of which are caused by any medication currently prescribed.
  • Loss of interest in socializing thus preferring to stay at home secluded.
  • Suicidal feelings especially in older men


Similar to many other mental disorders, there is no specific cause of depression. A variety of f actors may be involved including:

  • Biological differences: people suffering from depression appear to experience changes both physical and in the brain, though the significance of such changes is uncertain.
  • Brain chemistry: Neurotransmitters are brain chemicals that occur naturally. Research has shown that changes in the effect and function of the Neurotransmitters and their interaction with neurocircuits, which control mood, play a significant role in depression.
  • Hormones: an imbalance in body hormones can trigger depression. Menopause, thyroid problems among other conditions can trigger hormonal changes.
  • Inherited traits: depression is inheritable. The disorder is more prevalent to people whose relatives have the same condition.


There are many interventions, which are effective in the management of elderly depression. A current practice based intervention for depression is the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) (Yoshimura et al., 2013). This is a face-to-face therapy that helps patients manage their problems by altering their thinking and behaviors. CBT’s major goal is to help a patient discover new ways of recognizing the negative moods and thoughts assess their power and then replace them with positive thoughts when needed (Yoshimura et al., 2013). Therapists work to change behavioral patterns caused by dysfunctional thinking. Behavioral changes and negative thoughts are the major cause of depression and always cause a downward fall in the patient. Research from practice has shown that changes in behavior and thought trigger a change in mood.

Treatment plan

The treatment plan will have different activities including primary, secondary, and tertiary activities. Early interventions will be to prescribe some medications to control the moods in preparation for therapy. Conducting therapy to a depressed person can be hard in the sense that the patient has no mood for the therapy. Controlling the patient’s mood and thoughts is the initial is the early intervention. It is also good to make the short term and long-term goals at this stage.

After early intervention, comes in the primary intervention, which includes physical and emotional therapy through, face-to-face. Therapy helps one realize the problem and develop ways of recovering from the problem.

After a few weeks of personal therapy, the family members need to be involved so that they can also support the patient. After two months of therapy, the patient is reviewed to determine if more focused therapy id needed. For more intervention activities, the patient can be introduced to support groups where there are people recovering from the same problem. When people meet others with a similar problem, it makes it easy to recover as a group. Group members can engage in activities such as games for bonding. Regular reviews are necessary to enable the modification of the treatment. Depressed patients can also be involved in community activities and programs to keep them bust away from their negative thoughts. By working within the community, older people may feel loved and wanted thus causing a change in mood and thoughts.

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