Depression in Older Adults and the Elderly

Elderly people often go through difficult times that may include losing loved ones, having medical problems, and moving out of their homes. These changes can lead to depression, especially when they do not have family or friends to help support them. It may seem like depression is a normal part of aging, but it does not have to be.

When older adults have depression, it can be hard on many other aspects of their health, too. To help older adults live happier and healthier lives in their golden years, it is important to learn the signs of depression.

Depression red flags include:

• Sadness
• Fatigue
• Loss of interest in hobbies
• Weight loss
• Wanting to stay home alone and not be with friends
• Decrease in appetite
• Having a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep
• Using alcohol or other drugs
• Thinking about death or suicidal thoughts

Horizon NJ Health is here to assist older adults in dealing with life-changing events that can put them at risk for depression. Elderly members are assigned a care manager who calls them or a designated family member regularly to assess their well-being and assist with their needs.

Members seeking mental health services can call:

• Their primary doctor
• The New Jersey Mental Health hotline toll-free at 1-866-202-HELP (1-866-202-4357), Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. TTY: 1-877-294-4356 .

• A Horizon NJ Health social worker at 1-800-682-9090 (TTY 711), Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.