WHAT IS LATE-LIFE DEPRESSION?
In general, Depression does not constitute a character weakness, nor a feeling of sadness that accompanies loss. Moreover, it may last long and affect patient’s daily activities.
Late-life depression refers to depressive syndromes that arise in adults older than 65 years. Although geriatric depression affects a large number of elderly people, it is not an expected or necessary consequence of aging.
Late-life depression is a disease that should be recognized and treated like any other mental disease.
In Greece, it is estimated that 27% of the elderly population experience depressive symptoms, but only 9% is diagnosed with them, and even less is sufficiently treated.
Elderly people are more vulnerable and exposed to several risk factors that can trigger depression than others, such as: social isolation, loneliness, poverty, low self-estimation, loss of beloved ones, retirement, poor physical health and several medical conditions, e.g. dementia, stroke, Parkinson's disease.
The most common symptoms of late-life depression are:
Sleep disorders, e.g. insomnia
Eating disorders, e.g. anorexia
Reduced physical energy