Depression Among Retirees and Senior Citizens


Added on  2023-03-23

13 Pages3379 Words77 Views
Running head: Public Health 1
Public Healthcare

Public Health 2
Depression Among Retirees and Senior Citizens
Depression is still a serious public health issue across the life-span and more so among the
retirees and senior citizens. Notwithstanding the low proportion of depressed older adults when
compared with the younger adults, the projected increased number of elders is an indication to
the healthcare experts of the particular needs of the older adults. It is estimated that mental
disorders such as depression, anxiety among others account for 15% of the global burden of
disease (WHO, 2017). According to the World Health Organization, approximately 7 million
elders aged 65 years and above are depressed, which is a consistent gloomy, nervous, or empty
feeling, or feeling of desperateness and distrust. It is also projected that the percentage of the
global population aged 60 years and above will increase from 12% to 22% between 2015 and
2050. It is often the case that depression in retirees and senior citizens is not recognized or
treated (WHO, 2017). But it is relatively easy to notice, highly treatable, and can be prevented,
thus making it an ideal objective for public health activities. It is less likely for the older adults to
recognize their own symptoms than their younger counterparts, and as a result usually attribute it
to normal ageing. Depression affects the elderly in several ways. This paper seeks to address
depression among retirees and senior citizens with a particular focus on its effects on such a
Description of Depression
Depression has been defined by several authors. Depression is a mood disorder expressed in the
form of sorrow, loss of interest or desire in almost all events, self-blame and suicidal thoughts.
Depression was also defined by Brunner, Smeltzer, Bare, Hinkle, & Cheever, (2014) as usual
response to health issues and is commonly an under-diagnosed matter among the older adults.

Public Health 3
Depression can be caused by sickness or harm; suffering from an initial loss. The World Health
Organization defined depression as a pathological state that is related to feelings of loss or guilt
and leads to low self-esteem, impaired sleep or appetite, feelings of exhaustion and low
concentration (WHO, 2017).
Incidence of Depression
The global population is ageing very fast. It is projected that the percentage of the world’s retires
and senior citizens will increase from 12% to 22% between 2015 and 2050. This translates to an
increase in the elderly population from 900 million to 2 billion. The older adults consist of those
aged 60 years and above. Approximately 20% of the adults aged 60 years and above are
diagnosed with mental disorders such as depression, and 6.6% of all morbidity among
individuals aged 60 years and above are due to mental and neurological illnesses. Depression is
the most prevalent mental disorder among the elderly, and it affects 7% of the global population
10-15% of the elderly population in Australia are depressed with rates being much higher in
residential care by 30% (WHO, 2017).
Impact of Depression on Retirees and Senior Citizens
Appetite or Weight Gain/Loss
Depression can result in overeating or lack of appetite. The use of food as a coping mechanism is
likely to result in obesity and associated disorders, whereas poor eating may lead to nutritional
deficiencies and weight loss. Adults with common depressive disorders manifest considerable
heterogeneity in appetite, with about 48% of the depressed adults manifesting decline in appetite
and 35% manifesting an increase in appetite. There is a reciprocal relationship between
depression and obesity. Both obesity and depression are global health problems with major
implications. Due to the high incidence of both excessive weight gain and depression, in addition

Public Health 4
to the fact that both of the disorders increase the risk for cardiovascular illness, a remarkable link
between excessive weight gain and obesity has been assumed and researched severally. The
study by Pan et al. (2012) conducted a systematic review to assess the association between
obesity and depression and found a weak relation, however, the authors never carried out
significance tests. On the other hand, a meta-analysis studies on multiple community-based
cross-sectional types of research reported a general link between excessive weight gain and
Sexual Dysfunction
The common symptoms of depression include loss of interest, low energy and self-esteem and
failure to experience a pleasure. Irritability and social withdrawal may limit one’s ability to
initiate and sustain intimate associations. These significant symptoms might generate problems
in sexual relationships, and studies have for a long time linked sexual problems with depression.
A study conducted by Simms, Prisciandaro, Krueger, Goldberg (2012) examined depressed
patients, loss of interest in sex, due to loss of libido or decline in sexual potency, and found out
that 72% of the subjects had unipolar depression and bipolar depression were 77%. On the other
hand, loss of sexual desire is likely to be the concern of some patients, but after diagnosis and
interview appear to have major depressive symptoms. This implies that sometimes low sexual
yearning may precede the commencement of depression. Proportional research reports a high
prevalence of sexual dysfunction in depressed patients than in non-depressed ones. There is a
variance in the prevalence of the specific type of sexual dysfunction, however, loss of sexual
interest is likely to be highly prevalent than problems of arousal and orgasm. The fluctuations in
libido were considerably common among depressed patients than controls, however, there were

End of preview

Want to access all the pages? Upload your documents or become a member.

Related Documents
Depression Among the Elderly

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Mental Health Issues among Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Senior Adults in Australia

Mental Disorder- Depression & Malnutrition

Depression in Elderly Population in Care Homes

Promoting Excellence in Older People’s Care in Nursing

Improving Mental Health of Elderly Population in the US