According to the National Institutes of Health, of the 35 million Americans age 65 or older, about 2 million suffer from full-blown depression. Another 5 million suffer from less severe forms of the illness. Left unchecked, depression can have a profound impact on quality of life and overall health. Fortunately there are steps to take to reduce or eliminate depression.
- Loneliness and isolation: Living alone; a dwindling social circle due to deaths or relocation; decreased mobility due to illness or loss of driving privileges.
- Reduced sense of purpose: Feelings of purposelessness or loss of identity due to retirement or physical limitations on activities.
- Health problems: Illness and disability; chronic or severe pain; cognitive decline; damage to body image due to surgery or disease.
- Medications: Many prescription medications can trigger or exacerbate depression.
- Fears: Fear of death or dying; anxiety over financial problems or health issues.
- Recent bereavement: The death of friends, family members, and pets; the loss of a spouse or partner.
- Abandoning or losing interest in hobbies or other pleasurable pastimes.