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For seniors, when is it time to get help for depression?

Dr. Aruna V. Josyula, MD
Geriatric Medicine Specialist

Answering the following two questions can help determine if a senior patient is depressed:

  • Do you feel little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  • Do you feel down (sad), depressed or hopeless?

If the answer to either question is yes, then a patient should be evaluated for depression. Of course, any mention of suicide is clear sign that the person needs immediate help. Unfortunately, depression is a good predictor of suicide in older Americans. The group that is most vulnerable to suicide is white males who are older than 85—their rate of suicide is six times higher than that of other Americans.

For caregivers, family members and friends: Any obvious changes in behavior of your loved one will warrant a closer look by a primary care physician to determine what is going on and to pursue the best course of action.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.