This information is written for people over 65 who have depression. We hope it will also be helpful for relatives, friends and carers. This webpage provides information, not advice. You should read our full disclaimer before reading further. This information reflects the best available evidence at the time of writing.
Depression can occur in the elderly, but it is not a normal part of aging. While most people experience periods of sadness at times, depression is a treatable medical condition. Older adults are at risk of misdiagnosis and lack of treatment because some of their symptoms can mimic normal age-related issues. Symptoms can also be mistakenly attributed to other illnesses, medications, or life changes.
Depression is an illness that causes you to feel sad or hopeless much of the time. It is different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low energy. Some people think that depression is normal with age. But it's not. Older adults may go through major life changes or challenges that trigger depression.
Geriatric depression is a mental and emotional disorder affecting older adults. However, lasting depression is not a typical part of aging. Older adults are more likely to suffer from subsyndromal depression. However, it can lead to major depression if left untreated.