Depression is one of the most serious mental health conditions affecting older adults. However, it isn’t always easy to determine whether what you’re experiencing is depression or just a normal downcycle in emotion.

As an older adult, it’s imperative that you familiarize yourself with the common signs of depression. Doing so will empower you to make more informed decisions about your healthcare needs. Keep reading to learn more.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Older Adults

The first step towards improving your mental health is understanding the exact nature of what you’re struggling with. Familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults can help with that. Here’s an overview of the things that you should be paying attention to:

  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • Neglecting personal care, such as skipping meals or neglecting personal hygiene
  • Loss of interest in social activities
  • Difficult falling asleep and staying asleep
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Intense sadness or despair
  • Loss of appetite or weight loss
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Feelings of hopelessness

If you’re experiencing a good number of these symptoms, then chances are you may be dealing with a type of depression. This could be happening for a few different reasons.

Causes of Depression in Older Adults

As we get older, the types of things that can lead to depression shift. For example, you may be feeling depressed due to health problems that you’re experiencing as a result of your age. Chronic pain and cognitive decline are two of the leading causes of depression in older adults.

Depression can also be caused by a reduced sense of purpose. Retirement can cause older adults to lose their identity, status, and self-confidence. It can also lead to loneliness and more isolation than you’re used to. These are all risk factors for depression.

What You Can Do About Depression on Your Own

While it’s always a good idea to visit with a mental health professional to talk about your depression, there are some steps you can take to improve your mood on your own. Most importantly, you should rely on the people that you’re closest to. Reach out to your social circle, and try to stay connected with others as much as possible. This could be done through volunteering, spending time out and about, or even taking care of a pet.

You can also have a huge impact on your depression by living a healthier lifestyle. Moving your body through regular exercise is an excellent way to improve your mood. Similarly, eating a healthier diet that’s low in sugar and refined carbs can boost the way you’re feeling.

Treating Depression with Medicare

Ultimately, there’s no substitute for talking about the way you’re feeling with a medical professional who’s qualified to offer assistance. Thankfully, you can use your Medicare health insurance to do this.

Medicare covers one free depression screening each year. Your plan may also cover some of the costs of regular therapy sessions with a psychiatrist or psychologist. If you’re unsure about what your plan will cover, then consider reaching out to a partnered licensed agent through Time for 65.

Our partnered licensed agents are Medicare experts who can offer you personalized information about getting the most out of your Medicare health insurance. You can reach out to one today by either filling out this form or giving us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.