As we inch closer towards an individualistic society, without adequate support systems in place, mental health concerns like depression are seen to be increasing at a fast pace. According to the World Health Organisation, over 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression, which tends to manifest differently in various age groups.
Mental health and well-being, an important factor during childhood and adulthood, is often over looked as a health concern during old age. On the contrary, ageing leads to a higher risk of developing psychological problems since elderly grapple with deteriorating health and changing life situations at the same time.
India Has Higher Number of Elderly with Depression
According to the WHO, 21.9% of the elderly population in India suffers from depression. This statistic is significantly higher for India as opposed to the general world population, which has a depression rate of 7% in the older people. Since this age group tends to deal with multiple health concerns at the same time, it is vital to pay attention to the signs of mental illnesses, specifically depression, and offer support.
For example poor sleep or loss of appetite or memory loss a few symptoms of mental illnesses can also be caused by physical illnesses like thyroid problem, heart disease, arthritis or dementia.
So, have you ever wondered if an elderly at home, showing a high rate of memory loss or insomnia could probably be feeling distressed and suffering from depression?
Mental health concerns like depression can be caused by various societal, social, psychological and physiological factors. The typical signs and symptoms of depression include depressed mood, lack of pleasure, weight loss or weight gain, feeling of worthlessness and/or hopelessness, fatigue, anxiety, and insomnia among others. Since old age is generally associated with some of these symptoms, depression can get masked very easily among the elderly.