Sneaky depression triggers as you age

While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely.

Sneaky depression triggers as you age

While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that has an impact on both physical and mental health.

One in six women and one in eight men will experience depression at some stage of their lives. The precise rates of depression in older people are not yet known. However, it is thought that between 10 and 15 per cent of people in Australia over the age of 65 experience depression.

Rates of depression among people living in residential aged care facilities are believed to be much higher than in the general population – around 30 per cent.

Depression is often not well recognised or detected in older people. Symptoms such as sadness, sleep and appetite problems or mood changes may be dismissed as a ‘normal’ part of getting older. Symptoms such as poor concentration and memory difficulties may also be confused with other conditions such as dementia.

Older people are at greater risk of developing mental health conditions because of the cumulative effect of numerous risk factors, including chronic illness and isolation.

However, there is no evidence that ageing itself is a risk factor for depression later in life.

Depression can reduce a person’s quality of life and their relationships with friends and family. Severe depression is a risk factor for suicidal thoughts. Among males, the highest suicide rate in the population is among those aged 85 and older.

Depression among older people can be easily missed. Older people may find it difficult to recognise or talk about feeling sad or depressed, and may not reach out for help. Symptoms of depression that would cause concern in a younger person, such as insomnia or social withdrawal, may be disregarded in older people as ‘just getting older’.

Depression can affect memory and concentration, particularly in elderly people. People sometimes assume that problems with memory or concentration are due to age-related changes in thinking, rather than being due to depression. It is, therefore, important to think proactively about the possibility of depression and assess whether it may be present.

In older people, depression may occur for different reasons, but physical illness or personal loss are common triggers.

Factors that can increase an older person’s risk of developing depression include:

  • an increase in physical health problems or conditions such as heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease or cancer
  • chronic pain
  • side effects from medications
  • losses such as relationships, independence, work and income, self-worth, mobility and flexibility
  • social isolation or loneliness
  • significant change in living arrangements such as moving from living independently to a care setting
  • admission to hospital
  • particular anniversaries and the memories they evoke.

Should more be done to combat depression among older Australians? Do you know of friends or family that have suffered with depression?

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    COMMENTS

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    leek
    18th Nov 2019
    10:27am
    Yep, apparently depression is one of the 4 stages of retirement. As us oldies try and find our new place in the world after work. When we first give up work, do all of those holidays. see people, fix our homes etc. then when that Honeymoon period is over, that is when the depression can start as we try to find the next phase in our lives. The next phase is for some people is looking after grandkids, doing volunteer work, bowls clubs etc.
    My grandmother lived happily to 105 & 11 months. I learnt from her life, how to be happy. It is a single sentance: "have something to look forward to every day". my grandmother had 1 thing every day she looked forward, can be getting her hair done once a week, seeing the podatrist once a month, reading her newspaper every day. The little things that most of us take for granted, she was thankful for. That is the last phase of retirement, that apparently not too many of us reach. I Make sure I have a reason to get up every day, even if it is for somethng trivial.
    Jem
    18th Nov 2019
    11:39am
    Now that's a great bit of advice from rom your Grandmother! 'Have something to look forward to every day' Brilliant Leek!
    TREBOR
    18th Nov 2019
    10:40am
    ... and there shall be whores of policies and rumours of whores of policies.... and an endless gnashing of gums... and surely this is a sign of the End Times ...

    Anyway - after leaving work, many endure a period of 2-3 years where they are literally lost souls... I've alluded to this previously in regard to ex-service people and the need for a category titled 'Post Service Separation Disorder' and research into this in some genuine depth..

    Similarly, people who were easy-riding in a spot they were familiar with, suddenly find themselves at home and in their spouse's hair (seen that one), and with nothing to do... often they turn to the demon drink (argh, aye!!), and that often makes things worse.

    If their spouse is still working, they can't even just pull up stumps and hop into a campervan and do the Grand Tour of Australia or whatever... let alone find the arms of a young lover to console them.....

    It's a hard call and is mostly unrecognised...

    *sighs* just think of the fortunes I could have made if I'd been one o' dem 'academic' people with a 'psychology' degree etc... now some other git will prosper from y thinking (again)... be a classical feminist-steeped sheila or some pussy-whipped mangina, with no real idea, but a lot of homilies from being brought up behind mother's knee without dad.... or without another real man anywhere in sight...

    Teachers? Let me tell you about public school teachers! They're absentee landlords - they like to Watch, not act! First nature give kids instinct, and then for their own amusement, their own cosmic gag line, teachers set the rules in opposition.. they say look - but don't touch... touch - but don't taste.... taste - but don't swallow.... and while the little kids are down there jumping from one foot to the other, they're up there laughing their sick ******* heads off... Worship that? NEVER! (apologies to The Devil's Advocate)...
    MICK
    18th Nov 2019
    11:06am
    Geez TREBOR you're off the planet mate.
    Sorry you hate teachers but I have to wonder what happened to you.
    Society is always running down teachers and tampering with the curriculum. The result is falling standards of education. These are not teacher created but rather a perverse system where parents, politicians and the media now blame teachers for the results.

    There may be a few bad eggs in teaching but that applies to any walk of life. My observations indicate most teachers do the best they can with what they have and the handcuffs put on them. My suggestion to people who feel the way you do is teach your own children. Then you can blame yourself.

    Apologies for the broadside but people who want God to teach their own should make other arrangements.

    As for your dislike of absentee landlords we fit that mould. FYI we present our properties in immaculate condition and with only one exception over 20 years have gotten back dirty and/or damaged properties with a pristine garden full of weeds, overgrown and untended. Tell me about tenants. Only ever had ONE good one and the rest vary from barely acceptable to should never be allowed in private rental property. Off with their heads indeed!

    Not sure what happened to you in your life TREBOR. Must have been pretty bad for you to feel so badly about things everybody is fine with. Cheers
    TREBOR
    18th Nov 2019
    11:22am
    Just being facetious, Mick, while pointing out a few simple truths about modern society...

    Watch The Devil's Advocate...
    KSS
    18th Nov 2019
    12:01pm
    What a Debbie Downer, negative Nancy you are TREBOR.
    TREBOR
    18th Nov 2019
    12:16pm
    Nay, sirs, I'm jesting - take two happy pills and a laugh...

    But I was discussing on Saturday the difference in approach in private schools and the public system ... not sure where anyone gets the idea that the 'society' are influencing teaching etc adversely - they seem to be operating out there without any civilised constraint...

    The results I see are that two kids (the ex's grandies) have both been taken from public schools and are headed to a college... for the simple r5eason that bullying is rife in the public system, and teachers are near invisible... and when they appear they go all smarmy and won't criticise the offenders ... but sometimes blame the victims for 'being involved' (??)...

    As for 'academics' - their OPINIONS (the supreme court has held that the view of an 'expert' MUST be fully supported by fact) hold far too much power in discussion of modern issues... and often practical on-the-ground views are simply dismissed as those of the peasantry...

    BOTR!!
    MICK
    18th Nov 2019
    1:00pm
    Not too sure if you are taking too many happy pills or what TREBOR and I'm not sure you understand the recent history of teaching. Its not pretty as professionals are being told to teach lifestyle courses as well as what parents should be imparting to their children. As we all know parents want to fob off their responsibilities to teachers these days and make them both the educators and defacto parents.
    I saw a few weeks ago that Australia has again slipped down the international academic ladder. It'll keep happening whilst teachers remain as political footballs. Don't kid yourself that the bad academic outcomes and bad behaviours are of teachers' making. What we are seeing is society making its demands and then attacking teachers when things turn out bad.
    Don't shoot the messenger TREBOR. Better still do a bit of time inside a classroom and teacher staff room and you'll start to understand how the system does not work and who is to blame.
    Polly Esther
    18th Nov 2019
    2:40pm
    Yes, get right into ém' MICK, in this reply of yours to TREBOR you are shooting straight as an arrow. I can't understand TREBOR at the best of times as you cannot today.
    Good on you MICK all the best and keep well mate.
    MICK
    18th Nov 2019
    3:44pm
    TREBOR is one of the good guys and I can't understand what is happening today. Maybe Happy Hour has kicked off early.
    I'm sure TREBOR is not offended.
    TREBOR
    18th Nov 2019
    8:19pm
    Nah - I just shrug it off...

    Well.. pardon me for offering any slight criticism of the feminist-dominated school education scene these days and the resulting failures that some of you point out... (humph)...

    The way I see it, on this issue, Mick missed the barn door.... and I thought the reaction extreme to say the least...

    Hey! Lighten up, dudes!
    TREBOR
    18th Nov 2019
    8:20pm
    Oh - I have helped out in classes at times,m too - and the kids are easy to get on with... depends on your approach.. monkey see - monkey do...
    tisme
    18th Nov 2019
    10:58am
    diagnosis of depression , then what?? nothing, because mental health is something the system doesn't want to deal with. Talk therapy they think is the answer.
    TREBOR
    18th Nov 2019
    11:23am
    .. makes me depressed just thinking about it.....
    KSS
    18th Nov 2019
    12:13pm
    People who define themselves by their occupation (I'm an engineer, a shop assistant, a miner etc) need to reframe the self-talk before they retire, to place less emphasis on what they do and more on who they are and redefine their place in the world. If not, then take away the only descriptor they have and you are asking for trouble i.e. if not an engineer, then what? If not a shop assistant, then what? This is why planning for retirement is so important and has little to do with the finanical aspects of not having a salary.
    leek
    18th Nov 2019
    12:29pm
    Agree KSS, transition to retirement is important. One of my longest friends Announced to the world last year she was "retired".
    I was the only person who didn't applaud her because I knew it wouldn't last. Within 6 months she had a temporary contract, and has just
    started last week a "permanent" job. LOL.
    She realised that life being retired whilst her younger husband(only by a few years) still had to work sucked! So now she is working
    to put all of her salary into his superannation so he can retired up to 3 years earlier than planned.
    She went from working full time all of her life(no kids etc) to not working at all. It was not easy for her at all.
    When her husband retires, then they get up and go anywhere they want and whenever they want.
    Yep so I knew she wasn't "retired" when she announced to all and sundry she was!!
    MICK
    18th Nov 2019
    1:03pm
    When we retire all things start to even out. When we die all things are equal.
    Sort of goes along the lines you described KSS.
    Bundabergian
    18th Nov 2019
    1:03pm
    Agree KSS. I was an engineering manager and a bloody good one. Then we moved to the country and I bred horses, then we bought a business and that was hard work, then we went to France for four years and had an old house to do up and learn French!. All that time I was a "something" and had something to work on.
    Now back in Australia, in a new town where I know nobody (yet) I feel a lack of "something"s and so have been applying for work. Trouble is at 61 no-one wants me! Still looking for a next project.....
    MICK
    18th Nov 2019
    3:46pm
    You are wearing me out Bundabergian. I've got the next 2 projects stacked up and can relate to getting on with it but I wish I had half of your energy. Keep up the good work. Australia needs more of you.
    On the Ball
    18th Nov 2019
    10:37pm
    Wow!
    A lot of "I's" and "me's" in the responses so far...
    Isn't there room for anyone else in your lives?
    Since I retired (2 years) I am flat out doing the things I used to use work to avoid!
    The feeling's great. Doing stuff (for everyone else but me) gives me a buzz.
    And, as those that depend on me (both physically, socially and financially) age, their "care" takes more and more of my time.
    The "retirement projects" are gathering dust on the cobwebs.

    So this brings me to the point. As I get older, the "work" I do takes longer. The demands get harder. The financial support I give has a limit. And of course, the retirement dreams are fading fast, despite having the fitness and financial wherewithal to have them. Just no time. There's always more to do.
    What to do? I worked hard for the 50+ years I spent in the workforce. Spent only what was necessary until I married, then fully supported my family. Despite that, I consider myself (and my dependents) to be "comfortable" with no money worries, and NO pension.
    That is at the moment. In ten years who knows? Sickness of myself or dependents? Legislation changes? Superannuation collapse?
    If I "left the planet" now, my dependents would be well cared for indeed!. Some could even retire early!
    Am I being selfish in saying that if I can't get/have what I (alone) have worked hard most of my life for, then I should leave it to my family?
    And feel guilty for not doing so?
    Annie
    18th Nov 2019
    5:06pm
    Oh! I SO agree with all the comments about becoming an "oldie"!! When one has lived a really busy life for ? number of years it is so hard to realise that one does not have to be constantly "busy" any more but it is also so easy to feel "useless" so to speak! Just constantly think of all we have learned from manual typewriters to try and learn our fantastic "new" technology and that is some achievement! So please do try to relax, enjoy all you can, (even mobile phones, TV computers etc) and have something to look forward to every day more especially IF you are fortunate enough to sleep all night!!!!
    TREBOR
    18th Nov 2019
    8:24pm
    **re-posts**

    .. and there shall be whores of policies and rumours of whores of policies.... and an endless gnashing of gums... and surely this is a sign of the End Times ...

    Anyway - after leaving work, many endure a period of 2-3 years where they are literally lost souls... I've alluded to this previously in regard to ex-service people and the need for a category titled 'Post Service Separation Disorder' and research into this in some genuine depth..

    Similarly, people who were easy-riding in a spot they were familiar with, suddenly find themselves at home and in their spouse's hair (seen that one), and with nothing to do... often they turn to the demon drink (argh, aye!!), and that often makes things worse.

    If their spouse is still working, they can't even just pull up stumps and hop into a campervan and do the Grand Tour of Australia or whatever... let alone find the arms of a young lover to console them.....

    It's a hard call and is mostly unrecognised...

    Now, class....... whores of policies and rumours of whores of policies means what it says - too many shiessen stirrers in 'government' constantly creating waves over retirees and their incomes and their assets and homes... or throwing out mind-farts about what they might be 'forced' to steal from those who've already paid for them and had the gall to retire..

    Then I lay claim to the first post on PWSD -Post Work Separation disorder, that I ahve seen in several ways ....

    **sighs** just can't please people with a little easy-going monologue touching on salient issues in society these days...


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