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HealthInfo Canterbury

Depression in older adults

Do you feel suicidal?

If you need IMMEDIATE help, phone the Depression Helpline on 0800‑111‑757 (8 am to midnight) or Lifeline 0800‑543‑354. Or you can contact your local mental health crisis team:

This information is about depression in older adults. Read more about depression in adults, youth depression, postnatal depression.

About depression in older adults

Depression is not a normal part of ageing and it is not a character weakness. It is a medical illness for which there are effective treatments, no matter what your age.

Depression is common in all adults, even older adults, who often do not seek help. Depression can be a serious illness. It is more than just a low mood. People with depression feel intensely sad or low for long periods and often without reason. They find it hard to do everyday things and often do not enjoy once pleasurable activities. Depression can have an effect on physical and mental health. The symptoms of depression can be similar to dementia and other physical illnesses, and a medical assessment is always recommended. Some illnesses that affect older people (for example, stroke, Parkinson disease, and so on) can put older people more at risk of depression, as can social factors such as isolation, loneliness, lack of independence, income, or self-worth.

Depression is much easier to deal with if it is dealt with quickly. It helps to understand what can cause it and ways of getting through it.

Try this online test for depression.

See also:

Getting help for a mental health issue

Medications for mental health issues

Reading in Mind book scheme

In this section

Living with depression for older adults

More information about depression in older adults

Page reference: 49611

Review key: HIDPO-57702