The Elderly and Depression-Know the Signs in West Palm Beach, Florida

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Is Dad Okay? Or Is It Depression?

by Mikol Davis, Psychologist

You’re visiting your elderly Dad, and notice that he just doesn’t seem to have his old “spark.” He speaks slowly. He doesn’t want to go out. He spends his time watching TV or falling asleep during the day. He isn’t eating much. You’re worried. Is Dad okay?

Recognizing the signs of depression in the elderly

Depression is the most common of mental conditions, which can be treated, but among the elderly, it is one of the most overlooked. Sometimes, it’s because physicians don’t recognize the signs and symptoms. Sometimes it’s because of an overall attitude of society that perhaps feeling low is just part of getting old.

The danger in overlooking depression is twofold. First, quality of life that could be improved isn’t, and unnecessary suffering goes on. Second, the alarming fact of elder suicide looms.

Depression is an emotional state with a physical component. The physical component is triggered by brain chemistry, and can be helped. When it is, physical symptoms tend to lessen.

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