Is it Normal for the Elderly to be Depressed?

It’s usually missed

Depression is very common in the later years but it is usually missed and the symptoms wrongly attributed to normal aging. Society has come to expect depression to occur in later years and so it is ignored. This is much like the neglect of adolescent depression since it too has been considered normal for that age group.

The incidence of depression increases with age. It is presumed that this is caused by a decline in the level of nerve cell chemicals. This decline seems to be much worse if another unrelated chronic illness is present. Up to thirty percent of stroke victims will become chemically depressed. There is also an increasing level of stress and number of losses in later years which could precipitate depression. The rate of successful suicide reaches its peak in the elderly age group.

Treat it

The elderly should be treated for depression in the same aggressive way as those in other age groups. They will respond to medications too. It is important to be watching for depression in the elderly since their quality of life and that of their care taking relatives can be greatly improved with proper treatment of such a common condition. There is also strong evidence that a depressed mood will predispose one to more physical illnesses. After a heart attack for example, the risk of another attack is much greater in those who are depressed.

Depression can be easily confused with senility and can be found along with senility. It is important to treat depression as an independent condition since it will respond to treatment at any age.

What do I do next?

We have lots of resources to help you assess yourself for depression, anxiety or mood swings. These resources will also help you understand the conditions so you can help a loved one.

First do the self assessment checklists which you can even take to your doctor. Just click here.

Throughout my medical career I noticed that Christians suffered from depression differently than non Christians. You can download my article that describes this difference and why it happens in  How depression affects Christians.

Personal coaching appointments are available where we can meet online or by phone. I will answer your questions about mood disorders and explain the recovery process.

Emotionally free

Emotionally Free – The first third of the book explains the nature and treatment of mood disorders from a Christian perspective and includes the symptom checklists for self assessment. The rest of the book explains problems with our personality and spirit.



Have a look at these DVDs/CDs/direct downloads – watch 5 minute previews online

Depression, the path to recoveryDepression, The Path to Recovery As 2 disc of 10 TV interviews with Dr. Mullen where he explains a Christian understanding of depression, anxiety and mood swings. Our most popular DVD.


Moods, what Christians should know... Moods, what Christians should know about depression, anxiety and mood swings Christians are often very confused and misinformed about the nature and treatment of mental illnesses. They are also very suspicious of psychiatric treatments, so many are suffering needlessly from correctable conditions. This presentation will remove the mystery and confusion about the diagnosis and treatment of depression, anxiety and mood swings.

Fear, when trust is lost Fear, When Trust is Lost You will get the tools to overcome and take control of the worries and fears that disrupt your life.


Free Q&A videos

Why do I feel so far from God when I’m depressed?
How do I know if I need medications for my mood?
How do I know if my depression has been healed?
How long do I need to stay on antidepressants?
What is the ultimate cure for worry?

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2 comments on “Is it Normal for the Elderly to be Depressed?

  1. Anita Doo on

    Mental illness is one of the most misunderstood sickness in our society, it often links itself with “shame” especially among Christian. We simply can not comment on a person who has depression or mental illness until we are in their shoes which I would avoid with all cost because I know it is very difficult and painful. It is so sad to witness a loved one going through the depth of hell even if he/she is a Christian. In a way it is more difficult being a Christian because we have to face so much criticism and being accused of “faithless” etc., etc. I hope Christian would put on the eyes of Christ instead of poking another Christian with the claws of the evil one who continually accusing. Thank you for listening.

  2. Roberta on

    As I age, I find that there are many things I feel extremely sad about and if I brood on those things, I could be depressed. When I can keep an eye on my purpose, then life seems joyous. The challenge I find with age is the feeling of uselessness and the way so many people seem to treat you.
    Good blog Grant


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