Depression is sometimes viewed as a normal part of aging. It shouldn’t be. Left untreated, depression increases the likelihood of disability, placement in a nursing home, and death. Suicide risk also increases with age; white men over age 85 have the highest suicide rate in the United States. Depression in the elderly can often be treated effectively, but when depressive symptoms arise, it can be challenging not to mistake them for symptoms of another medical disorder, reports the February 2008 issue of the Harvard Mental Health Letter.
Although some elderly people with depression develop classic symptoms such as persistent sadness and despair, others may seek help for less typical symptoms such as heart palpitations, fatigue, tremors, or vomiting. People may also report cognitive problems such as an inability to concentrate or remember things.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- Research health conditions
- Check your symptoms
- Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
- Find the best treatments and procedures for you
- Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.