Home Instead Blog

Causes & Risk Factors that Contribute to Depression in Older People
Oct 22, 2013

Coping with life's changes as you grow older can be stressful and if you don't feel prepared or supported it can be much more stressful.

Causes and risk factors that contribute to depression in older people include:
  • Loneliness and Isolation: Living alone, a dwindling social circle due to deaths or relocation, decreased mobility due to illness or loss of driving privileges.
  • Reduce sense of propose: 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.
These are times when we all feel fed up, miserable or sad. Sometimes there is a reason, but sometimes these feelings just come out of the blue. These feelings generally don't last more than a few days ans they son't stop us getting on with our lives. However, you may be experiencing depression if you have any of the following symptoms, and if they last for more than two weeks and interfere with your everyday life:
  • Feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Difficulties with daily activities
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Changes in your sleep pattern
  • Changes in your eating pattern
Depression is not normal or necessary part of ageing. These symptoms, regardless of your life stage or circumstances, should always be taken seriously and never be dismissed. Both psychological and medical treatments are available to treat depression.