(This article appeared previously on Grandparents.com)
Your spouse might be depressed, and you might not know it. Or, maybe it’s a sibling or parent. Maybe it’s even you.
Even though upwards of 2 million Americans age 65 and older experience depression, the majority — 68 percent, according to a National Mental Health Association survey — know little about it. One big reason is that signs are easy to overlook since they’re frequently confused with other ailments and changes that come naturally with aging.
"Often in older adults, when they’re depressed, you don’t see high levels of crying and sadness you might see in a younger adult," says Dr. Sarah Yarry, a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in gerontology. "You see it more often as withdrawal. It’s apathy, hopelessness, loss of appetite and interest." Older adults regularly demonstrate physical symptoms, as well — particularly aches and pains — and when these are not addressed along with the underlying neurological issues, depression is more likely to linger, and more likely to come back.