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Depression and Aging

  • Depression in older people is a common problem.  As people age, they undergo many life changes.  For some people, dealing with a serious illness or death in the family can bring on depression. Other causes of depression can be diminished physical or mental abilities. 

    Causes of Later-Life Depression

    Older adults become depressed due to a variety of factors, including:

    • Physical illnesses, such as Parkinson's disease, strokes, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease
    • Financial hardship
    • Grieving the loss of loved ones
    • Difficulty with everyday tasks, such as walking and climbing stairs
    • Sudden life changes, like retirement
    • History of depression in the family
    • Medications, such as high blood pressure drugs


    Here are some of the most common symptoms of later-life depression:

    • Crying frequently
    • Feeling hopeless and unworthy
    • Extreme moodiness
    • Withdrawal from social life or leisure-time activities once enjoyed
    • Weight gain or loss
    • Overtired and fatigued
    • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much

    If you or someone you love is depressed, don't be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Without assistance from a medical professional, the depression may not go away and can even get worse.

    When you need someone to talk to, turn to Belmont Behavioral Health at 1-800-220-HELP or (215) 877-2000.

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    • Department of Health (DOH)
    • Department of Public Welfare (DPW)
    • Division of Drug and Alcohol Program Licensure (DDAPL)
    • Bureau of Drug and Alcohol (BDAP)

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