Life for us seniors can be quite frightening, especially if we don't have financial security.
For instance, there's the question of whether our money will run out before we die.
Or, will family members be advocates for us as we become more and more dependent, or will the family abandon us?
Some seniors worry about the welfare of a sickly mate or child or grandchild after they die.
This is scary stuff, and, I don't think non-seniors really appreciate the deep uncertainty and stress with which many seniors live.
However, it's just amazing that, in spite of the tremendous ambiguity with which seniors live, relatively few actually have a diagnosable mental health problem!
In fact, estimates suggest that of seniors living on their own - only about 3% of elderly men and 5% of elderly women are clinically depressed.
But it's also well known that many depressed seniors won't admit to depression and/or won't seek treatment for it.
This is a sad fact on it's own merit. But, it's even worse because depression worsens most medical conditions and interferes with healing and recovery.
It's also sad that so few seniors seek care for depression, because depression is very responsive to treatment. Most people, properly diagnosed, and, properly treated, do get better. In fact, effective treatment actually changes the brain for the better!
So don't pretend you're not depressed if you are. Ask for help. Medicare will even pay for it.
Indeed, Medicare has taken awareness of the negative effects of depression on medical conditions and medical costs so seriously, that it now provides incentives for non-mental health providers to uncover and treat depression!
Making the diagnosis is easy. If you have any questions, please contact me, so I can help you.
Dr. Donna Kimmel