By Dr. Mark Siemer, Medical Director
Doctors Express Cherry Creek
As we find ourselves entering the holiday season we find many people begin to struggle with depression. Depression is a serious disorder that many try to ignore, most don’t know what to do with it while others do not even know how to spot it. It is seen quite prevalent in the elderly. According to the Geriatric Metal Health Foundation, “An estimated 6 percent of people ages 65 and older in a given year, or approximately 2 million individuals in this age group, have a diagnosable depressive illness.” This is the case with those who are able to have their symptoms diagnosed while others go on with their depression not detected. Signs and symptoms to look for especially in the elderly are as follows: Sadness, Fatigue, Social withdraw and isolation, Weight as well as appetite loss, Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or oversleeping), increased alcohol and drug use, Fixation on death, suicidal thoughts or attempts, Loss of interest in hobbies
In much older adults the symptoms and clues of depression are very noticeable: Unexplained aches and pain, Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness, Anxiety and worries, Memory problems, Lack of motivation and energy, Slowed movement and speech, Irritability, Neglecting personal care.
In knowing the symptoms of depression you also need to know what causes it. The causes of depression in the elderly can also be the cause of the disorder in people of all ages. Different things such as health problems, loneliness/isolation, reduced sense of purpose, and recent bereavements can all trigger depression. A person that was once full of life, healthy and active and all of a sudden because ill, disabled, or have a cognitive decline has a high risk of getting depression especially when they start losing privileges such as driving and/or living independently. This also goes with those that loss friend or family members and have their social circle begin to shrink due to deaths or relocation. Medical condition are also another culprit in the causation of depression. Those that are diagnosed with diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disorders, dementia and Alzheimer’s, lupus or multiple sclerosis may eventually enter depression. At times medication itself can be the cause so being aware of side effects is very important.
A tough time for many is the holidays. During this time depression becomes more prevalent in people of all ages. There are ways to make the holidays more tolerable especially for the elderly. Engaging them in activities such as making holiday cookies, shopping, church, seasonal crafts, decorating, caroling, holiday parties, as well as regular exercise will help in getting them through a season that usually reminds of something that may make them upset and depressed. By keeping traditions and getting them to participate in activities that they have always been a part of is a good start in making sure the holidays are an enjoyable time for them. Other factors may help prevent depression during this season: 7-9 hrs. of sleep at night, Healthy diet, learning a new skill, Laughing.
With these tips and knowing what to look for and how to prevent moments that may trigger depression, the holidays should not be as dreadful and in fact be an enjoyable time for all.
Doctors Express Cherry Creek is here to help for you during the holiday seasons. We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year with no appointments necessary. Doctors Express Cherry Creek is an Urgent Care Clinic that offers fast and comprehensive medical care with a short waiting times and reasonable rates. Our goal is to bridge the gap between your family physician and the local emergency room. We understand that many acute illnesses and injuries are painful or worrisome, but it is often hard to get a last-minute appointment with your primary care doctor. And if you choose to go to the ER you will have to deal with long wait times and high costs.
Contact Doctors Express today for more information about our quick, efficient and comprehensive urgent care services available today in Denver.
Doctors Express Cherry Creek
760 S Colorado Blvd. STE A
Denver, CO 80246
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Depression in older adults and the elderly. Helpguide.org. Retrieved from http://helpguide.org/mental/depression_elderly.html
Holiday blues-depression among the elderly. Long-term care. Retrieved from http://www.longtermcarelink.net/article-2013-11-11-html