Depression, one of the conditions most commonly associated with suicide in older adults, is a widely under-recognized and undertreated medical illness.
Many believe depression is a normal part of aging, however the symptoms of depression in older adults go unaddressed forcing them to become isolated, ultimately leading to death.
"A lot of the time their dealing with other physical aliments that tends to exacerbate the symptoms," said Angela Caraway, Clinical Director at Mark Twain Behavioral Health.
Depression in older adults attacks their energy levels, eating habits, sleeping patterns along with memory and confusion. That's why Mark Twain Behavioral Health hosted a free depression screening for adults 55 years of age and older, so they can talk about it.
"This population tend to have been brought up with the idea that you just pull yourself up by your boot straps and go on.," said Sandy Ford, an R.N. at Mark Twain Behavioral Health. "Just changing sometimes their activities and know that they can be productive and change a lot of different idea and how they feel about themselves.
Studies show that 1 in 5 Americans over 65 years of age suffer from depression, so if you see an elder suffering from depression symptoms, contact their primary care physician.
"They need to express to them that the feelings that they're having are different that they typically felt," said Caraway. "So that they know there's a mood change."
Caucasian elderly males are at higher risk for suicide, directly linked to depression. So whether it's situational or just clinical depression, it is recommended that it is addressed.