Preventing Depression in Older Adults Emily Kotz

Healthy People 2020 Objective:

Reduce the proportion of adults aged 18 years and older who experience major depressive episodes (MDEs).

Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Depression:

  • Sadness
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Loss of interest in socializing
  • Weight loss or loss of apetite
  • Hopeless or helpless feeling
  • Lack of energy and motivation
  • Sleep disturbances, such as lack of sleep or overlseeping
  • Slowed movement and speech
  • Increase use of alcohol or drugs
  • Fixation on death
  • Memory problems
  • Neglecting personal care
"Depression is not a normal or necessary part or aging."

Risk Factors for Depression:

  • Family history of depression
  • Living alone or social isolation
  • Loss of loved ones
  • Substance

Medical conditions can cause depression in older adults.

  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Vitman B12 deficiency
  • Dementia or Alzheimer's
  • Lupus
  • Multiple Sclerosis

Depression can also occur as a side effect to many common medications.

Seeking Help:

If you are experiencing any of the signs and symptoms above, go to your doctor. Your physician may ask you a series of questions and assess you using the Geriatric Depression Scale. They will be able to provide you with resources and assistance in relieving depression.

Taking Action:

There are many things that you can do to help prevent or treat depression.

  • Avoid isolation and spend time with others
  • Move frequently and exercise
  • Stay away from alcohol
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat omega-3 fats
  • Pick up new hobbies
  • Minimize intake of sugar and refined carbs
  • Counseling and therapy
  • Taking medications as instructed


  • Depression in Older Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from
  • Fiske, A., Wetherell, J. L., & Gatz, M. (2009). Depression in Older Adults. Retrieved March 08, 2017, from
  • William J. Strawbridge, Stéphane Deleger, Robert E. Roberts, George A. Kaplan; Physical Activity Reduces the Risk of Subsequent Depression for Older Adults. Am J Epidemiol 2002; 156 (4): 328-334. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwf047


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