Noticing Geriatric Depression: Guide for Caregivers

Taking care of a loved one who is already dealing with a neurological disorder is challenging. Spotting the signs of additional concerns like geriatric depression can be even more tricky.

You’re trying your best to navigate their new normal. That is why we created a list to help you catch onto signs that point to geriatric depression which can affect physical, mental and emotional health, and cognitive functioning. If you suspect risk, contact a healthcare professional for further diagnosis and support.


Risk Factors for Geriatric Depression


  • Loneliness/isolation
  • Reduced sense of purpose
  • Health problems
  • Medications
  • Fears
  • Recent bereavement
  • Losses


  • Independence
  • Mobility
  • Health
  • Career
  • A loved one

Considering Possible Chemical Imbalance in Brain

  • Neurotransmitters that play key roles in depression are serotonin and norepinephrine
  • Lack of these neurotransmitters cause depressive symptoms


Signs and Symptoms

Cognitive Changes

  • Impaired concentration
  • Excessive worry
  • Psychosomatic complaints
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Reports of memory problems
  • Suicidal thoughts

Mood Changes

  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of hope
  • Helplessness
  • Generalized dissatisfaction

Behavioral Changes

  • Withdrawal
  • Isolation
  • Changes in sleep and appetite patterns
  • Suicidal attempts

Physical Changes

  • Weight loss or gain
  • Preoccupation with and complaints of aches and pains
  • Decrease in energy/fatigue


If you notice suicidal tendencies like active ideations, intent, and plans, contact a healthcare provider.


Depression and Dementia

Oftentimes one diagnosis can imitate the other. Being diagnosed with dementia can exacerbate symptoms of depression. Keep an eye on signs of both. 

If you suspect a loved one is dealing with symptoms of geriatric depression, connect with a healthcare professional for diagnosis and support. Your loved one may not realize that what they’re going through is abnormal or may feel like a burden asking for help.

You’re their advocate for receiving the care they deserve.


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