Despite how older adults are depicted in the popular media, depression is not a natural part of aging. As important, with proper recognition and treatment depression can be reversible. That’s the good news. The bad news is that left left untreated, it becomes an accelerant for poor outcomes.
Untreated depression in older adults triggers a whole array of health problems. These include the onset of cognitive dysfunction, social isolation, delayed recovery from illness and surgery, and an increased risk of suicide. It is a profound risk factor for poor quality of life.
The Geriatric Depression Scale proves to be a simple and effective way to understand the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults. The scale is scored based on severity. It offers adult children topics to explore in conversations with both aging parents and their healthcare providers.