Depression is a universal problem that is not only present in old people but is also in young and middle age people. With a world-wide presence, depression is a dangerous problem that is oftentimes fatal. As Hasche & Morrow-Howell (2007) document, depression is a cause of several negative outcomes for older adults, rendering it neither an unacceptable nor normal component of the aging process.
Recalling vividly, Mr. B, aged between 65 and 70, was one of our neighbors back in India and belonged to a rich family though his family was not supporting him in any way. Whenever I saw him he always looked sad and whenever I asked about the cause of his unceasing sadness he always ignored my question and sometimes he gave me weird answers like “what is the use of life; just spending your days and counting the time for the death that how far death is from life”. I always arrived at the conclusion that he might be sad because of family issues. However, one day his family members were out of town for close 4-5 hours leaving him at home alone, and on coming back, they attempted to open the door, only to find that the door was locked from the inside. After trying for a while, his older son decided to open the door by jumping into the house through the window only to find his father lifeless and hanging from the ceiling.
In the article “More Older People Treated for Depression” published in The New York Times, Paula Span, while reporting a doctor’s remarks on underdiagnosis and undertreatment of depression in the elderly in earlier years up to 2000, asserts that diagnosis and treatment of depressive disorder it bettered with the enactment of the Affordable Health Act (Span, 2012). In a scenario, Anna Hill’s mother-in-law was suffering from depression, and she felt lonely and even lost interest in all kinds of activities like family functions- she lost interest in grooming, as well. Unlike older patients in whom the symptomatic expression of depression are always seen in the form of different physical systems such as disinterest in lots of activities they once liked (like it was the case with Anna Hill’s mother-in-law), young patients oft look sad and cry in some instances. It is sometimes misunderstood as physical disability; this explains why only few numbers of old people are getting treated for depression (Span, 2012).
Under the Affordable Care Act patients suffering from depression get treated for the condition since it has become easy to treat it like other ailments. There are a number of other programs that offer free screening test to patients. In the article, it is explained that a large number of patients get diagnosed in the nursing homes before getting being treated by the primary care doctors (Span, 2012). Notably, several patients are using antidepressant rather than psychotherapy. This happens despite the fact that psychotherapy is more effective than antidepressants- every depression patient does not respond to antidepressants and is some instances a combination of some drugs may be needed in order to treat depression properly.
The article also explains that depression should be treated alongside other health conditions. For example, if someone is experiencing high blood pressure, the person should treated by knowing the ailment properly and knowing the reason behind the person’s problem and not just focusing on treating the health issue presented for treatment. Navarro et. al. (2010) on their part believe that depression should be detected by DDES (detection of depression in elderly scale). It is purported in the article that collaborative care practice is particularly useful for older patients; “Collaborative care” is care practice in which a trained nurse or a psychologist serves as depression a care manager. He or she works with patients to help them recuperate from their condition. Family members of the patients should try to give moral support. In the case of Ms. Hill’s mother-in-law, she was able to recover from depression by keeping good practice of visiting therapist twice a week and seeing psychiatrist. Her family members were happy to see her in normal physical and state of mind.
Understanding the cause of the depression is best solution for the diagnosed condition to be treated amicably. In the article “More Older People Treated for Depression”, the author explains some of the causes and symptoms of depression. The article further explains how to treat depression. “Depression occurs when people expect unpleasant things to happen and have a strong conviction they cannot do anything to prevent the hurtful things from happening” (Miller, 2012) in the case of Anna Hill’s mother-in-law and Mr. B.’s, thy both thought that they could not do anything.
In the article, the author emphasizes that antidepressant and regular visit to the doctor are indispensable. Nonetheless, it should be noted that depression is a mental condition that can result from the loss of loved and the feeling worthlessness. It can be implied, therefore, that spending time with loved ones is yet another strategy that can be used to treat depression. Support could be provided by anyone. In her article, Span (2012) stresses on the essence of support from family members as one of the best ways of bettering the health condition of someone suffering from depression. This assertion underscores the fact that, in some instances, people living by themselves may develop a feeling of isolation thence giving moral support such people can boost their self-esteem. It is worth noting that physiological changes are normal occurrences during aging and depression is not always manifested in young people the same way it is manifested in elderly people - for instance, depression in the younger generation may be expressed in form crying but in elderly its expression is more of a physical symptom like disengagement for the work (as was earlier noted).
Ideally, therapist communication in which patients can express their feeling as well as know the reason behind their problems is yet another vital step to getting rid of depression. Psychotherapy is a magnificent example therapist communication in which patient can express his or her sorrow and anxiety by verbal and nonverbal cues. In the article, Span (2012) did not mention about the socioeconomic status and its role in the causation of depression. It is of importance to note that lack of basic needs might be a stressful experience for virtually anyone hence can trigger depression. Another important cause of depression is feeling of worthlessness and fear of death which is not described in the article. Patients can express their sorrow and anxiety by verbal and nonverbal clues, which can be seen from their facial expression.
Keeping a good health is tremendously important. It is explained by The World Health Organization (WHO) that health promotion is the process of encouraging people to heighten control over their health as a means of improving their health (WHO, 2005). Hasche and Morrow-Howell (2007) believe that depression at any age is not only due to mental disability but also overall impact on a person’s health. Social attraction theory also maintains that spending time, providing education and giving support to depressed people enhances their response to the medication at any age. Some of the health promotion activities are not included in this article as per the need of a person suffering from depression. Getting enough sleep is also supremely pertinent to a depressed person- a depressed person should sleep for 7 to 9 hours. Besides, keeping busy and maintaining can also serve to treat depression.
Treatment for depression at old age can be executed in several ways as presented in the article “More people are treated for depression” by Paula Span. Some of The health promotions identified, like treatment with antidepressant and talking to the specialist, are particularly valuable in the treatment of depression. Professedly, some problems in life are inevitable, but people can try solving them by getting social support and making social network.
Blackburn, J. A., & Dulmus, C. N. (eds) (2007). Handbook of gerontology: Evidence-based approaches to theory, practice, and policy. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
Hansson, R.O., Hayslip, B. & Stroebe, M.S. (2007). Grief and bereavement. In J. A. Blackburn & C. N. Dulmus (Eds.), Handbook of gerontology: Evidence-based approaches to theory, practice, and policy (pp. 269-308). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Hasche, L. & Morrow-Howell, N. (2007). Depression. In J. A. Blackburn & C. N. Dulmus (Eds.), Handbook of gerontology: Evidence-based approaches to theory, practice, and policy (pp. 269-308). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Miller, C. A. (2012). Nursing For Wellness in Older Adults 6th Ed. Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Publishers
Span, P. (2012, June 25). More Older People Treated for Depression. The New York Times, Retrieved from http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/more-older-people-treated-for-depression/