If your doctor thinks you are depressed, he or she will ask
you questions about your health and feelings. This is called a
mental health assessment. Your doctor also may:
If you think you have depression,
read this information or
take this short quiz to check your symptoms.
How is depression treated in older adults?
younger adults, depression in older adults is treated with medicine,
counseling, therapy, or a combination. Treatment usually works, and treatment
for depression also may help other medical problems that older adults have.
Older adults may benefit from early, continuing, and long-term treatment.
Older adults may have special concerns when using medicine.
- Some of the medicines used for depression may
not be good choices because they may interact with medicine being taken for
other health problems.
- The side effects of medicines may be more
- Some antidepressants may take longer to start working in
older adults than they do in younger adults.
- Older adults may need
medicine for a longer amount of time than younger adults.
Many older adults don't take all the medicines they need for
depression. A caregiver or family member may need to help the person remember
to take the medicines.
Depression often occurs with
dementia, which is a loss of mental skills that
affects daily life. Medicines for depression may help older adults with
What can an older adult do about depression?
adults can be aware of how they are changing as they age and keep a healthy
attitude. Remember that getting older is a natural part of life. If you take
good care of your body and learn positive ways to deal with stress, you can
slow down or even prevent problems that often come with getting older.
One of the best things you can do for your health and to prevent
depression is to be active. Several studies suggest that walking with others
and doing other forms of exercise reduce symptoms in older adults.1 It may help prevent depression and help prevent it from
coming back (relapse).2, 3
Your mental and emotional health also are important. Stay in
touch with friends, family, and the community. If you remain close to others,
you are more likely to feel better. Protect or improve your memory and mental
sharpness by keeping your brain active through learning, doing crossword
puzzles, or playing cards or strategy games.
Many people look
back at their lives as they get older. You may feel you have lived a meaningful
and good life. On the other hand, you may struggle with this and wonder if you
made the most out of your life.