Essay on Challenges Affecting Late Adulthood: Depression in Later Life

Essay on Challenges Affecting Late Adulthood: Depression in Later Life

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Introduction: Depression in Late Life
Mental health issues including cognitive impairment, anxiety and depression affect approximately 20 percent of the age 55 and over population with severe depression being most prevalent (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, 2013). Literature also suggests that depression, also described as feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness or pessimism, affects 15-20 percent of Americans age 65 and older (Aldrich & CDC, 2013). Depression is treatable, however is often overlooked or misdiagnosed in the aging population. This can further complicate the impact of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease, which in turn can result with increase cost in healthcare (Aldrich & CDC, 2013). “The presence of depressive disorders often adversely affects the course and complicates the treatment of other chronic diseases. Older adults with depression visit the doctor and emergency room more often, use more medication, incur higher outpatient charges, and stay longer in the hospital” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, 2013).
Developing depression in later life is not a normal part of the aging but is a treatable illness just like any other physical malady. It is however often difficult to recognize in older patients. This could be because symptoms often present similar to those of dementia (Aldrich & CDC, 2013) or because of the stigma associated with having a mental illness. The older adult population in today’s society was reared in a time when mental illness was not recognized as a “biological disorder and medical illness” (Geriatric Mental Health Foundatio...

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...ociations with apathy, resilience and disability vary between young-old and old-old. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 23, 238-243.
Nemade, R., Reiss, N. S., & Dombeck, M. (2013). Depression: Major Depression & Unipolar Varieties. Retrieved May 7, 2014, from
New York State OASAS. (2013). Seniors and Health: Risk and Protective Factors. Retrieved May 5, 2014, from
Smith-Osborne, A. (2007). Life Span and Resiliency Theory: A Critical Review. Advances in Social Work, 8(1), 152-168.
University of Nebraska at Kearney, USA and Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania. (2011). International Journal of Psychology: A psychosocial approach. Retrieved May 7, 2014, from

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