Depression in the elderly - go Beyond Blue

27 Feb 2018 6:19 PMJen Fitzgerald
Depression in the elderly - go Beyond Blue

As assistant nurses, it is our job to know as much as we can about those we care for -including their psychological state. Learn more.


Attending a recent workshop, with my students, on depression in the elderly made me realise how little I knew and how little is included in the Cert 3 Individual support. The following is notes from the workshop and from research on the Beyond Blue website.

The Beyond Blue website is a fantastic resource for caring for people living with depression and anxiety. There is a section on older people and it states that approximately 10 to15% of the general population experience depression. Contributing factors are poor health, isolation, disability and dissatisfaction with life. These factors may be more common in the elderly and those in residential facilities have depression rates of 30 to 45%.

Identifying Depression in the elderly may be difficult because there are fewer complaints of sadness and more complaints of pain and illness so the focus of care may be on the medical disorders - not the depression. Also, poor memory and the stigma of the disease means less elderly people will present themselves to their doctor or family to express their concerns.

Risk factors are; a previous episode, hypertension and hypotension, smoking and excessive alcohol. Age is not a risk factor, however chronic illness and the loss of loved ones is more prevalent in the older person and can contribute to depression.

Anxiety and depression are common in people living with dementia and can lead to functional decline. They are often confused or misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all.

As Assistants Nurses we should learn more about Depression and the signs for those we care for.

For more information

Beyond blue

Having the conversation with an older person Read more>>

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