Depression And Its Negative Effects On An Older Adult

1847 words - 8 pages

Depression and its negative effects on an older adult
By the year 2045, the number of adults’ ages sixty years and older will increase significantly in comparison to a person who is fifteen years of age or younger (Touhy, Jett, Boscart, & McCleary, 2012). Therefore, a large percentage of people seeking medical attention and support in the future will be the older adult. Presently, there are many health related issues and conditions that plague the older adult, and these will only continue to increase due to the escalation in the numbers of older adults. One mental health condition that should be brought to light, in this students’ opinion, is the prevalence of depression among the older population. There is a specific concern about this demographic suffering from depression especially given the direct correlation between depressive conditions and chronic disease (Craven & Bland, 2013). For the purpose of this paper this student will define depression; explain how depression negatively affects an older persons physical health, as well as address how a psychiatric nurse can assist in providing competent care that will work towards illuminating depression in hopes of managing it thus, allowing for an older adult to live a fuller life.
Depression is characterised as a mental health disorder in which a person may experience a variety of symptoms including a decrease in energy, a loss of motivation, a loss of self-esteem, as well as a decreased concentration or increased indecisiveness (Touhy et al., 2012). As a psychiatric nurse it is vital that one is competent in recognizing the signs and symptoms that are associated with depression. Take for example a decrease in energy. When an older adult begins to display a decrease in energy he or she may present with behaviors such as a decline in their activities of daily living such as personal hygiene or removing themselves from social activities that they previously enjoyed (Touhy et al., 2012). Additionally, the aging population is faced with many life changes that have the potential to lead to depression. These changes include, but aren’t limited to: retirement, the loss of a loved one, becoming isolated due to physical or mental health restraints as well as changes in social support such as family moving away or being “too busy”. In the event of a life changing experience many pre-existing circumstances can also negatively affect the aging process which can induce depression. These pre-existing circumstances can include, but are not limited to excessive alcohol use, or low social support (Touhy et al., 2012). Upon reflection, this student is lead to believe that as an older adults’ life circumstances change one may become more dependent on crutches such as alcohol or isolating themselves from previously enjoyable situations to avoid dealing with depression. Thus, an older adult may in turn become more depressed. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs states that in order to achieve self-actualization, esteem,...

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