Does Aging = Depression?

Originally published in on August 18, 2014:

With the tragic death of Robin Williams, who touched so many of us with his humour, this week’s blog is about mental health and specifically, depression.

The Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health tells us that depression is the most common mental health problem for older adults and has ‘profound negative impacts on all aspects of their life, not to mention the impact on family and the community’.

Depression is NOT a character or personality flaw.

Depression is often difficult to recognize among the senior population and it tends to be under diagnosed. Living with depression not only prevents older adult from fully enjoying their lives but it puts a strain upon their health, which can lead to other medical concerns. It is also very difficult for their caregivers and places a strain on their health as well. Many of the signs of depression may also indicate other problems or medical conditions – It is important to consult with a doctor to determine if your symptoms indicate depression or another medical condition.

Depression is a serious disorder that is treatable. While all of us may feel sad from time to time, sadness is not depression and it is important to remember that depression is not a normal part of aging.

Baycrest one of our Canadian treasures, has a section on depression on their extensive website.

In addition to information on the causes and symptoms of depression, there is a section on depression in long term care and the differences between grief and depression. It is a very informative website. Depression is NOT a normal part of aging.

In addition to education about the disease they have also included the Geriatric Depression Scale.

This depression scale has been used extensively and the Baycrest site advises that this tool is supported through both clinical practice and research. It is a short test that only takes a few minute to complete. Take the test…. It may make a real difference in your life.
-Audrey Miller

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