According to the National Institutes of Health, 1.5 million people aged above fifty years old and depression is interlinked immensely. If this condition goes untreated, it often results in suicide. The problem with most people who are in contact with these elders is that they tend to overlook the signs and symptoms. Depression in the elderly can have many possible causes. They could be anything from the physical, to the psychological and even to the environment. It can either be genetic or just part of one's personality. Whatever the cause, they would exhibit similar giveaway signs that indicate that they are depressed. These signs should be observed carefully to facilitate intervention.

If the sufferers are fifty years old and depression is combined with other physical illnesses increases their risk of death. There have been studies that note that depression has a tendency to be inherited. It could also be caused by changes in the vascular network of the brain and different illnesses seen in old age such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, or cancer. Conditions such as these may have chronic or severe pain that may trigger and sustain depression. As a person grows old, he encounters many changes in himself and in the environment such as damage to his body image, frustration experienced with memory loss and other motor and sensory dysfunctions, fear of nearing death and loss of loved ones. The elderly often have difficulty adjusting to these changes. Depression may also be due to repressed or suppressed traumatic experiences that were left unresolved as a child because these tend to resurface as the individual slows down later in life.

Depression can also be deeply rooted in the personality structure of a person especially when he has some unresolved issues or trauma from early life. Also, when a person already has low self-esteem, is unconfident and generally has a negative outlook on life, it is not surprising that he will be depressed. In addition, depression is recurring. It occurs much more in elders with a history of depression. Depression usually would set in when the person is deprived of sufficient emotional and psychological support or is not psychologically ready to encounter life changes like retirement, disability, being unmarried, loss and bereavement. In these times of crisis, the person feels alone, unwanted and isolated and needs much attention and support.

All people over fifty years old and depression can be and should be treated primarily to prevent suicide and improve the quality of life. In clinical research studies, experts have concluded that 25% - 35% of elderly patients suffering a terminal disease tend to exhibit symptoms of depression caused by multiple factors relating to their condition. This is a natural emotional result of their aging process, which leaves them with the feeling of dependence, the inability to be productive anymore, as well as becoming a burden to their family or children.

Therefore, despite the difficulty of in-home elderly care, several families opt for it instead of leaving their loved one in a nursing home. This reduces the level of depression on the elder's part and reinforces the family's genuine concern for them. Unfortunately though, it still doesn't solve completely, the problem of the depression associated with their terminal illness.

One way to deal with depression is to provide any health or therapeutic services required for their condition. Although the chances of healing are slim-to-none, given that it has been diagnosed as terminal, seeing that you are extending all efforts to "cure" their condition often times tends to either combat or at least minimize the feeling of depression in the elder. This is achieved through their knowledge that all efforts are being exerted in an effort to find a cure. Normally, it isn't the ability to find a cure that relieves the feelings of depression, but the effort to try and do so.

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