11 Signs of Depression in Seniors and What You Can Do About It

mental health depression
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Would you be able to spot the signs of depression in yourself or a loved one?

Many people think that seniors have lots to be happy about. They’re retired, they no longer have to spend their time in the school pickup line, and many other perks that others would be jealous of.

But seniors actually experience a lot of loneliness and pain that the rest of us don’t usually see, and it’s crucial to watch out for signs that they’re becoming depressed before it causes any deeper issues. Depression can be very disabling.

And in seniors, it can even cause problems with memory and attention, greatly increasing the disability that accompanies medical problems, including heart disease.

According to a CDC Survey conducted in 2011, individuals aged 65 to 74 years and older reported feeling sadness at some point, and with valid reasons.

Many retirees go through the loss of a spouse or close friends, physical disability, loss of independence, and other conditions that come with aging. So, what exactly should we be looking out for? Continue reading as we discover the signs and ways to cope with depression.

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74 Responses

  1. I have been depressed for years.I,m under so much stress taking care of my older sick friends who have passed from cancer and my now husband whos 96 broke his ankle the end of May.He still is using a walker and going to therapy.I have no friends here and am alone a lot.I feel so lost and hopeless.I hardly ever laugh or smile and cry out of the blue for NO REASON OR BECAUSE I FEEL SO LOST I HAVE NO LIFE AND NO LOVE AND NO FRIENDS..I,M SO TIRED OF LIVING

    1. Hello. I just want to encourage you to hang in there. I know how you feel. My sister and I are taking care of our elderly aunt who barely walks. She can’t do much of anything. We are now her caregivers, and our lives are on hold too. Some days I just want to do nothing but cry until I remember that I’m not doing this for me but for Christ. He suffered on the cross for us to have eternal life so we must do our suffering here for His glory and we will soon gain our eternal life. I don’t know if you have a relationship with Christ or are a believer. If not, you may want to look into it. All I know is that my relationship with Him helps channel the depression in His direction. I can cast my cares upon Him to ease the burden. I remind myself what I’m doing on earth is for His glory and not mine. This will give you a greater respect for what you’ve been doing. Keep a daily journal of your care giving and turn it into a blog or newsletter for other people to encourage them. Use your life to connect with others like you for that social fulfilment. God will give you purpose for your life once you find and accept His Son Jesus Christ. Never be tired of living. I know how you feel because I have those days too because I have to be here with my aunt or keep my grandson and have no time for myself either, but God helps me channel that into ideas I can do from home. The day will come when you have more time for yourself. Use this time to know Jesus and plan for that time. God bless and keep you in Jesus’s name. Much love to you.

      1. Wow praise God for your incouraging words for this person and yes you can find comfort in Jesus. God bless you and hope you have a blessed day

    2. Hi John,
      My name is also John. I’m a nurse working from home now cuz my sister is very ill I know what you mean about having no life but taking care of the sick is a life. It’s very very hard and I get depressed also sometimes I’ll just sit in my room and curl up and just stare but because I am a Christian I give it to the Lord and he gives me a piece that passes all human understanding. I pray that you also trust in the Lord give all your anxieties and depressive moods to him and trust me he will help you. And when I say him I mean our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

    3. I too have been and am the caregiver for several family members and friends. I do it out of love for them and it is what God wants us to do for one another. The answers you are searching for can be found in Jesus. Jesus really IS the answer to everything we are facing in this crazy world. It is all about the cross and what Jesus did for us. He gave us a way forward because of His love for us. I pray you will find peace in your life.

    4. John, your depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain. You are not making enough serotonin and possibly dopamine. It’s not your fault. You can do something. Get an appointment with a psychiatrist please. You don’t have to live like this.

    5. I understand your pressure your stress your depression losing everyone your loved ones your significant other John just the same I’ve lost many my whole family even my son when I hurt his last cry before when he was born I watch my cousin get murdered both of them so many things happen in my life the tournament the trials of tribulations as I got older the depression start hitting fast but I had to sit back and ask myself is this my lesson to learn and move forward to help myself heal cuz I have a lot to live for my gift from that lesson is to give away to heal someone else but still don’t hold on to so much you can manifest anything you want in life but do something to give yourself a chance I still suffer from depression but not to hurt myself but to heal myself and to heal others by sharing my story I wish you nothing but blessings and I’ll have you in my prayers God bless and have a blessed day

    6. Can you connect with a senior group of some kind in your area? Possibly your doctor can give you some referrals for a Seniors group or a Senior day program where you can connect with others. They usually provide transportation. Hopefully there is one in your area.

    7. John , you are not alone. I’m in the same situation. I have 2 senior at home my 68 year old husband and my 86 year old mom. I also has a full time job. I have no hobby , no friend but I have money because I’m working. Negative think is our worst enemy.

    8. I am so sorry it’s so hard. I am praying for you. Maybe you can join a church to get support. Is there one near you? A senior center yiu can attend?
      Please ask for help. There are people in this world who will help you. I know it. Sending you love.

    9. Hi, I have a nonprofit (Persevere Outreach Ministries dba as Gods Pearls) that caters to our seniors. We write penpal letters, call weekly just to check in on you. We also so you things just to let you know we are thinking about you. Everything is totally FREE to you. If anyone is interested you ca email


      I know senior depression is real and our mission is to help with that.

      Think about it ok!

      1. How can I post this on my Facebook page I am and know so many facing so many fears , new challenges ,uncertainty, ect…. first accept we are not alone. Reach out. We need each other’s support ❤. Do not try to make sense of certain trials and pain we endure. For it is not for us to know. Find comfort it will in the end😇💝

    10. I know exactly how you feel,because I feel the same way.My illness has pretty much taken all my freedom away I also have no friends. I have my daughter and my grandson,but they pretty much have their own life and I hate being a burden on them. I’m on oxygen 24 hours a day.This illness now has taken all my life. I have multiple sclerosis and emphysema

    11. Everyone who feels this way should plan to meet in one place…. Have a big adoption party and then everyone will have lots of relatives and people to talk to

    12. Hi John – I just wanted to let you know that I think you are so brave and such a loving person for doing all you do to care for others. I don’t know you, but I wanted to let you know that there is probably someone else in the same predicament you are in and maybe there is an on-line support you could find so you can find solace in knowing that others too understand how you feel!!

    13. I’m so sorry you are feeling this way! I hope God will give you peace and strength as only He can. Blessings to you

    14. I just read your post, this really makes me sad. I live in West Virginia and have all my life. I now live about 150 miles from family and friends, I divorced and remarried when I remarried I moved. I’m not very happy where I live now. My husbands lived here all his life and doesn’t want to move, so there you go, I’m stuck here. I’m retired so is he we don’t travel or do much of anything. I lost my mom in 2015 and my dad in 2020, I miss them so.

      But now with you it looks like you posted this last year. Are things any better now? Let me know how you are.
      Concerned, Kathy

    15. Hello John, God said he has a place prepared for you that is so wonderful, You do have friends and a huge family, God has seen your kindness and selfishness, he want you to be happy and healthy. Your life is about to be great and full of joy, in Jesus name, receive it John! amen

    16. Sorry for ur loneliness. I will say a prayer for you. Hopefully u r taking a little time out of each day to focus on YOU because ur worth it.

  2. I have tried every Avenue to find a therapist for treating my depression and anxiety and to no avail. I’m 85, on Medicare and Medicaid and I need a therapist who is well versed on medication. I’ve tried everything my GP
    has suggested. There is no known help in my area???

    1. Hello Laura, I am so sorry to hear that you have had a difficult time finding a therapist. I don’t know where you live but there are many platforms that offer virtual therapy. I know it is a unfamiliar concept and people tend to shy away from it. However, It can be as helpful as in-person. As long as the therapist is licensed in the same state that you reside, they can provide therapy services and don’t have to live in the same town as you. I hope this would help you. For example, I accept Medicare and see clients virtually. Here are three reliable platforms that you can check out to see if you can find a therapist: Alma, Headway, and Sondermind. I hope this helps you.

    2. Hi Laura, hope you are doing well. What area do you live in? Have you tried doing things in the main time to occupy yourself? Such as going to a citizen center in your area? These centers offer many activities and you can meet people make friends, do activities/outings together etc. I hope you find the help you need blessings.

    3. Hi, I have a nonprofit (Persevere Outreach Ministries dba as Gods Pearls) that caters to our seniors. We write penpal letters, call weekly just to check in on you. We also so you things just to let you know we are thinking about you. Everything is totally FREE to you. If anyone is interested you ca email


      I know senior depression is real and our mission is to help with that.

      Think about it ok!

    4. Hi Laura,
      Have you looked into Spravato?
      It’s a type of Ketamine in a nasal spray.
      Everyone I’ve talked to says it’s a miracle drug.
      I started Ketamine injections a few months ago and I’m seeing wonderful results.


    5. Maybe you can consider checking better health.com. It’s a site (the world largest online therapy platform) to find mental health counselors.

      I wish you the best and please don’t give up.

    6. Hi friend, what is your location?? i’m not yet eligible for Medicare yet but because I am very poor there’s a county clinic here in Alabama bitch will supply you with a therapist well versed in medication on a sliding scale.Maybe there’s one in your area it’s worth checking out. Nobody needs to feel

    1. What you’re experiencing sounds like my generalized anxiety that usually only happens when waking. When I feel the onset, I do breathing exercises – breath in through the nose 4 seconds, (let your diaphragm puff out), then release out through mouth (as your body contracts) for 4. Or a longer version where after breathing in, you hold for 4 seconds, then release for 4, then hold again for 4 (just hold right there – don’t breathe in again), then release completely. These always help feel like myself again, which can take anywhere from 3 minutes or up to half an hour. Thankfully they’re mostly 3 min. or less these days. Try it – if still no relief, please don’t fear asking your doctor, or Office For The Aging, or even Senior Center for direction. You have my prayers.

    2. Hi Ronald. I saw your comment and I have to tell you that my husband is going through the same thing. He wakes up being VERY scared for an unknown reason. He prays a lot and is very religious and relys a great deal on our LORD. It does seem to dissipate as the day goes on thanks be to GOD. We will also pray for you to have some comforting as well. Best of luck Ronald and be blessed always.

  3. God has a cure for depression. You can be happy if you chose to be. Life is a series of choices, some we make are good most are bad and selfcentered. If you want to really feel wanted and loved , do something for someone else. Do this when no one else is looking and for a person you do not know at all. Homeless or deprived. They will show more love than you will ever need.

  4. Hello Laura,
    Check online under topics like covid 19. A lot of therapists were working from home or doing virtual visits during the pandemic. You may also want to check your insurance network for listed doctors. If you have family or friends already seeing a therapist, they may have some recommendations also. Every avenue you can check, search it out until you fill your need. Don’t forget to share your findings with others so they can benefit as well. Happy hunting.

  5. Good article. It is important to do a quick screen for depression with every visit if possible. The PHQ9 can be completed by the patient while we are finishing up on another patient.

  6. I am 76 yrs old widowed, and very involved in my church. I turn to Jesus and pray a lot. I go to church every Sunday. I’m Catholic. I’m happy. My 4 children are busy most of the time, and all the friends I have most of them are close to my age, some much younger, and alone as well. Most widows or widowers. I have always be spiritual, and have clung to my Creator, my God. I have heart problems, slow growing lung cancer, gout, and this year spent a week in the hospital with Covid pneumonia. My loving, friends have prayed and pulled me through. These are like minded people. Spiritual, prayerful people. We all have problems of every kind, but know if we seek the Kingdom of God first, all these things will pass and He will sustain us. Find yourself a church, participate, join, get out of the house even if for an hour or two. You won’t need pills and a shrink.

    1. Thank you for your powerful testimony. Think about, be thankful for and pray to God, and get together with like- minded people who you can relate to no matter their age.
      There is a theory floating around that when a person is in the right environment — spending time with relatable people & doing activities you enjoy– there is no need for therapy. When will our social services system support these fundamental needs??

    2. I too, am a practicing Roman Catholic. I find my strength in my God and even at my lowest points, I refuse to despair! I am a 67 year old retired Nurse and the primary caregiver for my 89 year old mom. I heard this on the radio yesterday just when I was near tears, “it will be the sowers that did the hard work that will lead the procession.” God will never leave us!

    3. And do the “heart work”, aka Celebrate Recovery. Emotional issues, which are linked to physical issues, are typically from unforgiveness, resentment and fear. Heart check to live out the rest of your journey with JOY!!!

  7. I am 86 and are very happy because I do Tai Chi every day. If you do not know what it is google it.
    It keeps my body in good shape. This is what keeps me young.


  9. I recently turned 80, and was feeling down all of the time, my physician diagnosed me with extremely low vitamin B-12, I started taking an over the counter vitamin B-12, and cannot believe how much better I feel.
    I was not aware that vitamin B-12, could have such an adverse effect on your health.
    If you are feeling down all the time, talk to your doctor, it could be something as simple as a vitamin deficiency, causing your problem.

  10. My comment is directed to Rebecca Capitamo ! Thanks for sharing words of encouragement ! I totally, agree with you. I’m 73 years old and not depressed at all. I’m widowed, have recently loss my brother who I cared for as his caregiver for almost 4 years. Getting connected to a church family is paramount. I live the comment of getting outside daily. I’d like to add join an active senior center. Take classes, exercise, dance, and eat out with new friends.

  11. There is not enough help for mental health I have been searching all my life To get rid of this depression I have been holding on since I am a child

  12. Always, engage yourself in activities with friends even though they may be younger or older than you. Keep yourself active doing something instead of staying idle. Active body brings longivity

  13. Hang in there John. Tomorrow may be different. Think about one thing that actually makes u happy. No one else. Do that thing at least once a day. And spend a little time outside….just to watch the world…I guarantee that u will see something that puts a smile on ur face.

  14. I know this may sound silly but try and move more if you can have a gentle walk take 20 minutes each day to do so if not put some music on and dance around the house
    I have been caring for my husband with Parkinson’s for 15 years and now recently has a dementia diagnosis
    I feel low and desperate some times but in life we have to seek pleasure in simple things this helps me a lot also having the love from my beautiful fur Angel ( black Labrador,) animals help heal stress and depression

  15. This sort of depression happens at all ages, especially during the isolation of the pandemic. How does one get family support when the meds caused the depression and they think you are depressed just to get attention??? I can not find any support that works and the doctors only want to heal with meds. Meds were the problem…now what do I do??

  16. My best friend passed away last May. We did everything together. Our husbands are best friends. We traveled with them every year. We would go out and eat together and cooked and visited in each other’s homes . When our husbands went on hunting or fishing trips, my friend and I would find something to do together. It seemed the bottom fell out from under me when she passed away. I had lost my dad, both brothers and my momma and I mourned but this is different.

  17. Hypothyroidism can also be responsible for depression. Especially, hashimoto’s thyroiditis which is probably 90% of Hypothyroidism.

  18. I’m only 58 years old. I don’t have friends to hang out with. All my friends live in other towns and cities. I hate being alone. I’ve been divorced since 2007. My kids live in Dallas and Tampa. I’m depressed most of the time. I’m disabled and no doctor can tell me that I’m not going to keep my foot. I have a foot illness that has me worried a lot. What can I do to keep from falling further into depression?

  19. I am a woman of 53 years old . I have Ataxia since K was 36 years old. I can’t walk within help assistance . It is very difficult for me , I s as los have Diabetes Type 1 , High Blood Pressure now I also have Gastroparesis .

    But my fears have been going down reading the Bible this is not easy but Reading the Salms have being going up my feelings.

  20. my kidneys failed in 2006 and I eventually got a cadaveric transplant in 2014. Not one friend or family member stepped forward to be tested. my PCP (married female) told the Transplant Department that I was gay. I’m not but most of them are. I contracted MRSA when I was in the hospital and had to stay there 5 months extra. I got gout, skin cancer, AFib, Ascites, and a number of other problems. I’m 73 and take about 31 pills every day. When I realized that I was facing death in front of me as well as to the rear, I started to get down and not care about anything.

  21. A year ago I attempted to hurt myself. It was more of a cry for help then actually wanting to hurt myself. My daughter won’t talk to me, we had talked at least once a week. We have had our grandkids one weekend a month since the oldest (who is now 14) was a few months old. She wouldn’t let them come for about 6 months. Of course now the kids don’t think about coming to our house the first weekend of the month so they make plans. I have tried to talk to her but, she rarely will take my call and when we have been over there for a holiday I would go to where she is and she leaves to a different room. We use to be so close.

  22. Great article~! You’re so spot on about these basics here. This is why I’ve anticipated all this even at 61 so as to maintain always a positive quality of life~! 🙂

  23. I’ve had loneliness and isolations been. accompanying the loneliness. Life is hard. I just read Rebecca Capitano comments and it makes a lot of sense to rely on the creator to help us. I guess we just have to keep trying to do the best we can and let God do the rest. If we made it this far. I’m 64 2 divorces. we just have a little longer to endure and hope fully we will meet our maker and we will all end in the right place without the pain self-doubts and insecurities. from negative bias and the Trama, we have had. I have had a hour a day of reading the Bible James king version and I’m working on that.

  24. You made a good point that accounting for heart diseases will surely be a huge factor that will affect senior care. I’d like to find a good senior wellness care service soon because I want to know more about how my grandmother could get medical assistance as she ages. Her health isn’t the best right now so it will be important to be cautious in the years to come.

  25. I think we get in a rut. My husband is 16 years older then me and hasn’t wanted to be active in years. He says he has done what he wanted in life. And I used to sit around and just watch him sit! But a few years ago I told myself that I’m a person too. I may have to take care of him and my mother, who is ten years older then my husband is, but I haven’t finished doing what I want to do. Volunteer, find a church, get a hobby, learn an instrument, maybe even a part time job. Make friends. We all need a support group. Visit a doctor, maybe medicine is needed. But don’t give up. Get up. Do something. Force yourself. Because no one will do it for you. You can do this!

  26. I have read all these replies and realize so many people are alone and lonely and it really makes me count my blessings and wish all of those much love and happiness. There is so much beauty in this world and if we can just look around and see how God works through others and Nature. I know it is very difficult when one is feeling alone and lonely but if we could just look around and see the beauty in the ones around us and the ones we are taking care of and realize all have a wonderful spark of life in them given to us by our Creator. It doesn’t mater if you are a believer or not, The
    Creator loves us all and he is too great to leave any of us even if we, at times, feel separated from Him and others. Know that we are a great body of humanity who are, each and everyone of us, all very important in their own right. And each are necessary to help and to the love each and every other. Many Blessings to all!! God give us strength and the ability to see the beauty in life and those around us and if we are alone to see the beauty in the world around us.

  27. I am a retired psych nurse in my late 80s. I live alone much of the time and don’t get around like I used to. On days I feel down it helps me to think of someone who may need cheering to call or call someone just to talk. I also watch Christian tv shows and comedy shows in rerun. When I was raising my family and working I didn’t see much tv, so the shows are all new to me. They are also family friendly and lack all the bad language and violence in shows today. I encourage everyone to be gentle on yourself, develope an attitude of gratitude, take inventory of what you still have and can do: rather then what you have lost. Try to smile even when you don’t feel like it , that may lift others moods too. Watch nature and get out into it as much as you can. Having a pet has helped me a lot, to focus on another life that needs me. I realize everyones situation is different , but we are all in this together. Give away a smile, it doesn’t cost anything and may bring one back in return. ❤️‍🩹

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