Is Dad Okay?Â Or Is It Depression?
by Mikol Davis, Psychologist
Youâ€™re visiting your elderly Dad, and notice that he just doesnâ€™t seem to have his old â€œspark.â€ He speaks slowly. He doesnâ€™t want to go out. He spends his time watching TV or falling asleep during the day. He isnâ€™t eating much. Youâ€™re worried. Is Dad okay?
Recognizing the signs of depression in the elderly
Depression is the most common of mental conditions, which can be treated, but among the elderly, it is one of the most overlooked.Â Sometimes, itâ€™s because physicians donâ€™t recognize the signs and symptoms. Sometimes itâ€™s because of an overall attitude of society that perhaps feeling low is just part of getting old.
The danger in overlooking depression is twofold. First, quality of life that could be improved isnâ€™t, and unnecessary suffering goes on. Second, the alarming fact of elder suicide looms.
Depression is an emotional state with a physical component. The physical component is triggered by brain chemistry, and can be helped.Â When it is, physical symptoms tend to lessen.