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Essay on Social Work in Older Living

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Depression is two to three times more common then dementia of depressed elders at home, about one-third have moderately severe disease. Depression is not age-related and there is no reason to believe it to be part of normal aging. It is more common amoung physically ill sunjects in hospitals and at home. Although higher rates of depression are found in people with dementia and other neurological disorders, particularly stroke and parkinson's disease. Without treatment, depression in old age becomes a chronic disorder that produces high levels of morbidity and mortality. Age is a risk factor for completed suicide. Depression is the most important psychiatric condition associated with successful and attempted suicide in old age. Depression in late life is a largely undetected and untreated condition. In community studies, similar proportions of depressed patients are on antidepressants. Depressed older people will consult their general practicioner two to three times more often then non-depressed elders, presenting opportunities to identify and treat depression. In genral hospital wards, the detection of depression is also poor and few patients will be referred for a psychiatric opinion. In high risk populations, the use of validated screening intruments like the The Geriatric Depression Scale can improve levels of detection.The poor medical response to depressed older people arises from several factors. Therapeutic nihilism based on misinformed preconceptions of age and psychiatric treatment may be common. Too often depression is considered a natural reaction to the vicissitudesof later life ands is explained away as an inevitable and normal response. A study of antidepressants perscibing in primary care found that older patients...


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...ic illness. Spouses, family members, and friends may die. Retirement brings loss of income and loss of the workers role. The older adult gradually loses the necessary resources to remain independent. Independence is a major cultural measure of personal worth and its loss undermines self-esteem. Without understanding, support, and care from loved ones, chronic depression can result even for those who have led successful full lives. Alzheimer's disease is an increasing cause of mental confusion in older adults. In earlier stages of the disease, patients can be aware of their diagnosis; depression and anxiety are likely to follow. Support from social workers, along with medication can help ease the resultant emotional pain. (Suppes & Wells, 2013)



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(Suppes & Wells, 2013)(Anderson, 2001)(Lacruz, Emeny, Haefner, Zimmermann, Linkohr, Rolf & Ladwing, 2011)


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