Everyone hopes to be able to enjoy their later years; however, the pressures faced by the elderly nowadays are no less than others. Research has shown that one in ten elderly people have symptoms of depression. Many times, we may mistakenly think that these symptoms are just a part of being old, and we ignore the warning signs and miss the chance to improve their lives.
Physical change – decline in bodily functions and chronic illness lead to physical restrictions
Emotional change – the loss of family and friends of a similar age brings about a heavy psychological burden, especially for those who lose their spouse within two years, live alone and have fewer interactions with others
Economic change – loss of income yet foreseeing future living and medical expenses causes pressure
Lifestyle change – no longer being the backbone of the family and being unable to contribute as they are no longer in their prime years leads to a loss of one’s sense of self-worth
|Elderly behaviour||General misconception and actual fact|
|Expressing: “I’m useless; worthless, a burden to others”||People believe that these are common expressions for the elderly. In fact, self-blame and self-hate are usual symptoms of depression.|
|Talking about death and dying||People assume that this is a normal thinking pattern for the elderly. In fact this kind of self- destructive thought is probably caused by depression.|
|Complaining often about being in pain||People think that sickness and pain are inevitable in old age. In fact, the elderly are not emotionally expressive, and often times they use physical complaints to reflect emotional pain. Depression will also amplify feelings of pain.|
The development of depression happens over time. Early detection of mood and behaviour changes in the elderly and spending more time understanding what troubles them could mean that their depression won’t reach the worst-case scenario. Let’s listen as Wai Wai Kwok, Clinical Psychologist and Training Director at JC JoyAge: Holistic Support Project for Elderly Mental Wellness, explains what type of behaviour in the elderly may signal the potential for developing depression.