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Depression Among the Elderly

   

Added on  2022-12-28

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Disease and DisordersNutrition and WellnessHealthcare and Research
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Running head: Public Health 1
Public Health Policy
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Depression Among the Elderly_1

Public Health 2
Depression Among the Elderly
Introduction
Psychiatric disorders such as depression are prevalent among the elderly with a global incidence
of approximately 10-15%. Furthermore, depression among the elderly is not regularly diagnosed
or treated. There is an increasing number of old people aged 60 years and above worldwide and a
corresponding increase in the cases of mental disorders (Taylor, 2014). According to the World
Health Organization, older adults or seniors are those aged 60 years old and above. The
population of the world is ageing very fast and it is expected that between 2015 and 2050, the
global population of the old people will increase twice from 12% to 22% (WHO, 2017). The
prevalence of depression according to Lim et al. (2018) Is at12.9% and 10.8% lifetime
prevalence. Considering the fact that depression is the prevalent psychological issue in old age
(Aziz & Steffens, 2013), its management and control among the seniors are critical. The high
incidences of depression demand the attention of healthcare experts because this is a predictor of
functional incapacity and constitutes a critical public health issue. The consequences of untreated
or partly treated late-life depression are terrible. The mortality rates due to suicide and sickness
are very high. The elderly are much more vulnerable to depression because of multiple social
determinants such as stressful life events and routine hassles, low education, lack of perceives
social support, bereavement among others. The objective of this paper is to investigate
depression among the old population by considering the social determinants of depression among
the elderly, the most appropriate policy in addressing depression and potential stakeholders
needed for the collaboration in addressing the social determinants of depression among the
elderly.
Depression Among the Elderly_2

Public Health 3
Description of Depression Among the Elderly
Depression has been defined as a common response to health issues and is usually an under-
diagnosed disorder among the senior’s population. Depression can be as a result of harm;
suffering from an initial loss, or individuals may require health care for somatic grumbles that
are the bodily expressions of depression (Brown & Harris, 2012). In other words, depression is a
state of sadness, worry and hopelessness, and with no interest for routine activities. According to
the World Health Organization, depression is a pathological state that is related to an emotional
state of loss or guilt and is caused by sadness, low self-esteem, lack of sleep or appetite,
exhaustion, and low concentration (WHO, 2017).
Depression in older population exists in multiple forms. The early onset depression (EOD) which
is a frequent illness beginning from earlier life. The late-onset depression (LOD) in which is a
disorder due to feelings subject to a general medical condition or due to medication or substance
use (Aziz & Steffens, 2013). Other researchers have distinguished different forms of depression
among the elderly on the basis of the symptoms and whether its mild, average and severe.
Individuals that have mild depression may not manifest physical signs of depression, but it can
be manifested verbally, through attitudes and reports from the friends and family. Moderate
depression is characteristic of involvement in normal activities but with less pleasure or
enjoyment and is caused by a lack of passion for life and low vitality. Severely depressed
individuals entertain suicidal thoughts and are likely to attempt suicide despite being less
energetic (Glaw, Kable, Hazelton, & Inder, 2017).
Prevalence of Depression among the Elderly Population
Depression Among the Elderly_3

Public Health 4
The World Health Organization consider the elderly to be those aged 60 years and above. The
percentage of the world population of old adults is expected to increase from 12% to 22%
between 2015 and 2050. Senior citizens of all countries undergo serious physical and mental
health difficulties that should be addressed. Over 20% of older people of age 60 and above
experience mental health problems, 6.6% are affected by morbidity problems. Depression is the
most prevalent mental illness among old adults and affects about 7% of the global population of
the old. Psychiatric disorders such as depression are prevalent among the elderly with a global
incidence of approximately 10-15% according to Taylor (2014). The prevalence of depression
according to Lim et al. (2018) Is at12.9% and 10.8% lifetime prevalence. Considering the fact
that depression is the prevalent psychological issue in old age (Aziz & Steffens, 2013), its
management and control among the seniors are critical.
Effects of Depression on the Elderly
Depression affects the quality of life of the elderly in several ways. Sivertsen, Bjørkløf, Engedal,
Selbæk, and Helvik (2015) conducted a review of the association between depression and quality
of life. The authors found out that there was a worthwhile relationship between severity of
depression and low-quality life. Studies have indicated that depression is associated with
malnutrition in old people. Depression has a significant effect on the nutritional status of old
people. It influences the appetite, food consumption, and finally body mass. Old adults are likely
to have difficulty with chewing and swallowing due to reduced dentition, but depressions
increase their risk of malnutrition because it also affects their appetite for food. Most of the old
people with depressive symptoms have been found to be malnourished and with a high
nutritional risk (Kvamme, Olsen, Florholmen, & Jacobsen, 2011; Ahmadi et al., 2013). Vafaei et
Depression Among the Elderly_4

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