Geriatric depression is a mental and emotional disorder affecting older adults aged 65 years and over.
According to the Well-being of the Singapore Elderly (WiSE) study conducted by the Institute of Mental Health, the prevalence of depression among the elderly in Singapore is around 5.5%.
Feelings of sadness and occasional ‘blue’ moods are normal. However, pervasive low mood is not a normal consequence of aging. Depression can impact quality of life and increases the risk of suicide if left untreated. Late life depression is associated with an increased risk of subsequently developing dementia.
Depression affects older people differently than younger people. Depression in older people is frequently confused with the effects of multiple illnesses and the medication used to treat them. Depression often goes along with medical illnesses and disabilities and lasts longer in older adults.
If you are depressed, you may not feel like doing anything or seeing anybody. But isolation only makes depression worse, so you should limit the time you spend alone and try to connect with others.
Biological, social and psychological risk factors all play a role in depression in older adults.
At SKH, we have the SHINE (Senior's Health: Inspire, Navigate and Empower) Programme. You can read more about it here.