Depression in the Elderly

By Veronica Oquendo

Depression in the older people (65+) affects 2 million of the 34 million elderly Americans in the US. There are many reasons depression in the elderly occur including:

  • Death of Spouse
  • Co-occurrence with disability
  • Co-occurrence with medical illnesses (diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s, etc.,)

A unique cause for being diagnosed with depression is from a lack of blood flow called vascular depression. If the individual has restricted blood flow throughout the body and brain for any medical reason, it makes them susceptible to depression even with no genetic history. Furthermore, many of those who are elderly often suffer from loved ones dying from old age. When it is a spouse that has passed, there is a prevalence of one-third that the surviving spouse will have depression.

Unfortunately, depression in older individuals often leads to suicide with a 20% suicide rate being those who are elderly, the highest of any other age group. Those most vulnerable are white males, especially those 85 or older being 6 times the general suicide rate in the US. Moreover, these individuals are at higher risk for memory loss, unhealthy eating habits, sleeping problems, and slower reaction times, than an elderly person without depression.

 If you or someone you know is elderly with depression, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit


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