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Depression In Older Adults: A Guide for Seniors and Their Families

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The Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH) is hard at work ensuring that seniors’ mental health is recognized as a key Canadian health and wellness issue. Working with partners across the country, the CCSMH is busy facilitating initiatives to enhance and promote seniors’ mental health.

Based on the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH) National Guidelines for Seniors’ Mental Health: The Assessment and Treatment of Depression.

Production of this guide has been made possible through a financial contribution from the PUBLIC HEALTH AGENCY OF CANADA.

Disclaimer: This guide is intended for information purposes only and is not intended to be interpreted or used as a standard of medical practice.

Introduction to Depression In Older Adults: A Guide for Seniors and Their Families

We’re very glad you picked up this booklet. Canadians are not only living longer, but also staying healthy and independent longer than ever before. We want all older adults – and their family members – to have high-quality information about health issues that might affect them. We believe that with this information, older adults will be empowered to make informed decisions about their health care and build effective relationships with their health care providers.

What is the Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health?

The Canadian Coalition for Seniors’ Mental Health (CCSMH) started in 2002 to promote the mental health of seniors by connecting people, ideas, and resources. Members of the CCSMH are organizations and individuals who represent seniors, family members and informal caregivers, health care professionals, researchers and policy makers.

The CCSMH created the first set of national guidelines on seniors’ mental health based on the most current
research. These guidelines were written for health care professionals who work with older adults. They recommend
ways to improve the assessment, prevention, treatment and management of key mental health problems for older adults: mental health issues in long term care homes, delirium, suicide and depression. This booklet is part of a series that covers the same topics for seniors, their family members, and others who care about them.

Mental health problems are NOT a normal part of aging. Many people think that mental health problems are just a
normal part of aging. This simply isn’t true. Difficulties with mood, thinking and behaviour are not an inevitable part of aging. Nor are they signs of personal weakness. They are usually signs that something is wrong that requires attention from a health care professional.

Some people may argue that there is no point investigating these problems in older adults because these problems can’t be fixed. Some problems associated with aging cannot be cured yet, but there is still a lot that can be done. Mental health problems can be treated.

Older adults experiencing changes in their mood, thinking and behaviour may not be aware of the changes that are taking place, may misunderstand the nature of the changes that are occurring, or may be ashamed of the idea that they’re developing “mental health problems.” Family members may misunderstand and think that these changes are normal parts of aging, aspects of their relative’s personality, or signs of personal weakness and may not know how best to help.

We hope this guide will help inform older adults and their families about what they can do if they have mental
health concerns.

Who should use this guide?

This guide will help older adults who are feeling depressed. It will also help family members and others who care about them. The guide gives information about the causes and symptoms of depression. It also describes what to do if you, or someone you care about, is feeling depressed.

Download for Free Depression In Older Adults: A Guide for Seniors and Their Families

More Resources:

Aging and Sleep: Safe Sleeping Guide for Seniors and Caregivers
A lot of things change for us as we age. And that includes our sleep. Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors that can affect the sleep of seniors negatively. Some are just a natural consequence of aging as our sleep cycle changes.