There’s a pervasive belief that being older goes hand in hand with being depressed. After all, you’re facing the last years of your life, perhaps you’re experiencing some physical health concerns, you may have some friends who have passed away and feel lonely, and you’ve lived a long time so you’re just plain tired, too. All of these factors can lead people to overlook depression amongst older people (since they have plenty to be depressed about, after all).
But the truth is that depression is not a natural part of aging. Those feelings of anxiousness and despair–we all too readily dismiss them as part of the process. But the poor mental health of older people is often overlooked and undertreated, says Charlotte Lynch of Age UK in this article from The Guardian. She points to health professionals, too, of being guilty of this belief that it’s natural that older people are depressed and says the support when it comes to mental health issues for older people doesn’t exist the way it does for younger adults.
Depression being normalized for older folks can also be tied to other factors, which broadcaster and writer Adrian Chiles elaborates on in his piece in The Guardian. The more we recognize this stereotype, the sooner we can all help to bring the focus to giving the mental health of older people the attention and treatment it deserves.