With increasing age, many difficult experiences can result in significant emotional stress. One example of such an experience could be losing a spouse, a loved one, or a close friend. There is also a myriad of physiological changes that cause our lungs and hearts to lose some of their functions, our muscles to lose considerable mass, and our brains to have changing levels of neurotransmitters.
Regardless, it’s crucial to understand our mental health and identify the potential contributing factors of depression to help us take a preventive approach. Here are some common triggers of depression in older adults.
As we grow older, our physical health would likely deteriorate with the onset of chronic or life-threatening diseases. Some of the ailments attributed to aging include dementia, diabetes, infections, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and thyroid conditions. Today, further research has indicated a greater connection between depression and cancer as well.
Loss of Loved Ones and Friends
Naturally, with age, we will undergo the grief of losing a loved one or close friend. While grieving is a normal process after a death, usually the period of mourning is littered with moments of gratitude and joy. However, sometimes, we may not be able to find relief from the sadness and could gradually slip into a depression.
Side Effects from Medications
Though there are many potential triggering factors to depression for older adults, the consumption of pharmaceuticals can also lead to an increased risk of developing depression. The side effects of certain medications can affect anyone of all ages, but older adults are more susceptible to experiencing the side effects due to a slowing metabolism. If you are currently on a slew of medications, typically more than one type, it’s important to look out for the telltale symptoms and signs of experiencing a drug-induced depression.
The drugs that are commonly taken by older adults and known to incite drug-induced depression include:
- ACE inhibitors
- Calcium channel blockers
- Cholesterol-lowering drugs
- Sleeping pills
- Blood pressure medications
- Parkison’s disease medication
Do consult your doctor to discuss solutions or other alternative medications.
For many of us, having a career gives us a sense of purpose and makes life more fulfilling. Working also means being able to interact with others in a social setting. However, when we retire from work, it could mean that we are missing out on the cognitive and social stimulation that is also essential in the process of healthy aging. Social isolation and withdrawal can only compound if you are living alone, and could result in depression.
Lead A Fulfilling and Purposeful Life at Discovery Commons South Biscayne
Our senior assisted living program at Discovery Commons South Biscayne provides customized care to help our residents with daily living activities while giving them the freedom to participate in daily activities and social events. Our community will ensure our residents get a fulfilling life and a sense of purpose with a plethora of recreation and socializing activities. Contact us today to find out more!