You might always have always envisioned your elder as being sturdy both emotionally and physically. How could you think otherwise when she managed to survive hard financial times not to mention some personal losses, moving through it all with a smile?
Lately, however, despite the fact she has always been the epitome of a strong woman, she has begun showing what you interpret as being signs of depression: loss of appetite, restlessness, lack of interest in socializing, irritability. Could your intuitions be correct?
Well, they might be: being both female and elderly places her at risk for depression. A study conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Medicine clearly made this point.
They tracked 754 individuals 70 and older for a 7 year period, carefully assessing their physical and mental health at the beginning of this period and at follow-up sessions held every 18 months.
Their conclusions: 35.7 per cent of the participants showed symptoms of depression at some point during the study. And fully 4.5 per cent of them displayed these symptoms at each of the five sessions during which they were re- evaluated.
The statics for women were even more alarming than were those for men. They were more likely to transition from a non-depressed to a depressed state and less likely to regain their equilibrium than were their male counterparts.
“Our findings provide strong evidence that depression is more persistent in older women than older men,” said Lisa C. Barry, lead author of the study. “We were surprised by this finding because women are more likely to receive medications or other treatment for depression. Further studies are needed to determine whether women are treated less aggressively than men for late-life depression, or if women are less likely to respond to conventional treatment.”
For more information on aging gracefully read Rounding the Circle of Love: Growing Up as She Grows Old, which is being sold by Amazon.