Most of us can relate to feeling sad or blue, sometimes for days at a time. It may be in response to a major life event like losing a job, a break-up, or as part of grief. These sad feelings can lead us to feel less interested in enjoyable activities, make us lose our appetite or disrupt sleep.
Although research shows that people often become happier as they age, sad feelings are also very natural and can be associated with some of the typical transitions and changes of aging. But depression, from a medical point of view, is something different, and should not be considered a normal part of getting older.
In this article, I’ll explain the most important things to know about late-life depression, including:
- What’s different about depression in later life?
- How is depression diagnosed (especially in an older person who may also have medical illnesses that can mimic depression symptoms)?
- What treatments are recommended for older adults with depression?
- What you can do if you’re worried that someone is depressed.
In an upcoming article, I’ll also cover the special considerations and challenges when it comes to diagnosing and treating depression in those living with dementia, which is a common scenario in my practice as a geriatrician.