Ray of Hope for Depressed Elderly

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Whilst depression is already seen as a major problem for elderly Americans, the dilemma is seen to be getting worse. New findings show that there is a light at the end of the tunnel however.

From research carried out at the Centre for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine at Cornell Medical College new stats are showing that social support mechanisms are decreasing the incidence of depression amongst the elderly. Based on the facts that there is an aging population and the likelihood of depression to increase with age, the elderly are becoming vulnerable to death through suicide.

So too they are becoming vulnerable to other factors causing death as a result of depression with the incidence of heart attacks as a direct result of depression also on the up. A little known recently compiled stat shows that Americans who are between the ages of 80 and 84 are twice as vulnerable to death by suicide as to other age ranges. These are startling statistics that researchers not only in America are seeking to reverse with their work.

The slowing down that comes naturally with getting old is often mistaken as the cause of illness by doctors when depression is at the root, but doctors are now listening to the warning signs out there, and such ‘misses’ are unlikely to continue into the future.
The contributing factor that is loss of social support towards depression in the elderly is set to be improved upon now. Improved now that it is realised social support programs can make all of the difference in saving these people’s lives, and allowing them to live out the remainder of those lives with dignity.
The investigation of researchers at Cornell Medical College has determined that social service interventions do actually make a difference to the lives of the elderly who suffer from depression. Their study into the impact of this added benefit of the health system took in more than 50 persons with an average age of 82. In the study their quality of life, their functional autonomy and any signs of depression were accessed.
Of the third of the group who displayed depressive symptoms at the beginning of the survey there was a distinct drop in numbers at the end of a six month period of study. These persons were assisted with the aforementioned interventions and it was not only depressive symptoms which decreased. 11 percent witnessed an improvement on the Functional Autonomy Scale, almost two thirds of the group experienced an increased quality of life. It was those who were experiencing an abundance of social care who witnessed these across the board improvements in their lives.
So whilst the figures are staggering and there may appear to be no end in sight for the elderly who are of course going to encounter more possibility of feeling depressed in their senior years, there are signs that a reprieve is possible with greater dedication towards their social support.

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