Depression and other forms of mental illness are common in the elderly and aging populations, but these are not just part of the normal aging process and they need to be addressed so that seniors have better lives and their specific needs are addressed. There are many reasons why someone who is aging may start to become depressed. As you get older you start to develop more health problems, and these problems are usually more severe or life changing as well. Seniors also have to be concerned about income reductions and trying to live on a fixed income with a small budget. Often older individuals have also experienced more loss in their lives, including the death of a parent, spouse, or other close family member.
Statistics show that in the USA alone roughly 7 million individuals who are at least 65 years old suffer from depression. When other forms of mental illness are calculated in this number may be much higher. Many medical care providers and mental health experts tend to overlook depression in the aging population , often because this is mistakenly seen as a normal part of the process that comes with getting older. Centers for Health and Aging at Dartmouth College director Stephen Bartels explained “The public thinks, ‘Well, if I was losing my ability to walk or losing my vision or hearing or people that I love, that it’s normal to be depressed when you get older,’ and that’s just not true.” Depression at any age is a medical and mental health problem that should be addressed.