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Signs of Depression in Seniors

How can you tell the difference between feeling sad and experiencing depression? If you consistently feel emotionally low and it’s negatively affecting your life, you should know that there are things that you can do to help yourself kick the blues and rebound. Learning to recognize the signs of depression in seniors is a wonderful place to start.

Understanding Senior Depression Is the First Step to Recovery

One of the unfortunate stereotypes about aging is that feeling a little grumpy or moody is just another part of senior life. While the challenges of senior life can have an impact on your mood, feeling constantly sad or experiencing other mental health struggles is not a normal part of the aging process. Being able to recognize the signs of depression and knowing what to do about them is the first step in reclaiming the joy of your golden years. You deserve to enjoy retirement, so don’t let depression hang around and rain on your parade. What signs should you keep an eye out for if you’re trying to identify senior depression?

How Does Depression Present Itself in Seniors?

Depression can sometimes be challenging to identify in older patients because it doesn’t always appear in the same ways that it does in younger people. We often look for obvious signs of sadness or other negative emotions, but that isn’t the most reliable indicator of depression for seniors. A senior with depression is more likely to experience their condition as an absence of positive emotions and a lack of engagement with life:

  • One of the most common signs of senior depression is losing interest in activities you used to enjoy. Seniors with depression may find that their hobbies are not as fun as they used to be or that parts of their routine they used to look forward to no longer hold their interest.
  • Seniors with depression may experience emotional “numbness” instead of intense sadness. You may feel disconnected from your emotions, or your emotional reactions to things may not make sense to you.
  • Another common sign of senior depression is a consistent feeling of unhappiness or irritation that is unrelated to the events of your daily life. If you find yourself constantly dwelling on negative emotions, even when things are going well, depression can be the culprit.
  • Depression also has a profound effect on your physical body. Seniors with depression can feel lethargic for no reason or experience cognitive struggles related to brain fog. They can also experience unexplained sleep and appetite disruptions. If you feel like you’re moving or thinking more slowly than usual or having trouble managing your diet or sleeping habits, it’s worth talking to your doctor about depression.
  • In some cases, seniors with depression may experience negative thoughts and emotions related to their self-worth or may even consider self-harm. If this sounds familiar, talking to a trusted loved one right away is essential. Reach out for help if you need it!

It’s important to note that experiencing one of these symptoms on their own every now and again doesn’t necessarily mean you have depression. However, if you experience a combination of these symptoms that last longer than two weeks, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about why. Depression is not your fault, and there are things you can do to help yourself get better. And even if you aren’t experiencing depression, your doctor can still help you manage any worrisome symptoms and improve your overall health.


Now that you know the signs of depression in seniors, you have the power to do something about it. If you or a loved one needs help, reach out to a trusted medical professional today.

Are you planning to retire in Greenville, South Carolina? Be sure to check out The Gables on Pelham, a continuing-care retirement community that welcomes seniors from all walks of life. We offer flexible and personalized care, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. You’ll love our cozy accommodations, fun-filled events calendar, and welcoming community atmosphere. To learn more, please schedule a tour or call us at 864-713-1377.