When We Age: Depression in Older Adults

“The more of life we live, the more likely we are to experience times of sadness and grief.”

The purpose of my Catalyst Conference is to raise awareness, among individuals within families, that older adults face an increased risk for depression and going without diagnosis and treatment. My commitment to this project comes from interacting with individuals within the elderly community. When I began delivering prescriptions for older adults in elderly care facilities, they’d often tell me about their family leaving them, being all alone, not wanting to be on medications and proceed to hide what I delivered in the bathroom.
Info on Depression in Older Adults: Infogram

What symptoms look like as described through a scenario:

Audio of scenario:

List of depression symptoms in older adults:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment

Call to Action:

What can we do as individuals in our family and in the community? Go out and interact with the older adult population in your community! Social isolation is a factor we can influence. Volunteer at assisted living facilities where you can lead/participate in classes that range from painting to aerobic exercise! For those in your family, spend time with them and ask how they feel. Play cards, watch a movie, find activities that interest them (this can range from volunteering together to going on walks.) And show what you’ve done to interact and catalyze change within your family and community by posting a picture on twitter at #supportwithage.

Celebrating My Grandpa’s 75th Birthday, April 15, 2019

If you do notice that a loved one is depressed, treatment is an option! But that first begins with an honest conversation. It may seem scary but approach from a place of concern and care. Encourage them to seek therapy and engage/spend time with them.

“CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy), in older adults, result[s] in greater reduction in worry severity and depressive symptoms, and improvements in general mental health.”

“In older adults, the combination of CBT with antidepressants (desipramine) results in a greater response rate than treatment with medication alone.”

Information on CBT and finding treatment:

Visual diagram with steps:

If you have questions or want to become engaged in your community, one great resource is or shoot me an email at

End of conference poll:


Share this project
  1. April 25, 2019 by Margaret.French

    I love this project idea Luciano, depression in older adults was never something I had really thought about, but after reading your presentation I feel like I have a greater understanding of how I can further prevent this with my own relatives. Great job!

  2. April 26, 2019 by Caroline.Cummins

    Your project is really interesting, Luciano. I think that often when thinking about mental illness we do not take adults into consideration even though they are struggling just as much as some other groups are. Just through this presentation, I feel as though I know a lot more about adults involving depression. Great job and I really think this is a vital topic.

  3. April 28, 2019 by Tia Jeffs

    Your page is so interesting! I feel like many people when talking about depression, talk about depression in teens, and although that’s still an important topic we never discuss depression in adults. So thank you for bringing this topic more in the public, and providing great ways to help people who may be suffering depression

    • April 28, 2019 by Luciano.Ferrato

      Thank you Tia! That is what partially attracted me toward doing this project because while depression rates are higher in young adults and teens, they make up less of the population than older adults. I also thought about the state of our culture and how as we move progressively forward we shun the actions and pitfalls of consequent generations and although there is merit to those thoughts they are still people. We are still people and we will grow old some day as well.

  4. April 28, 2019 by Veronica Kruschel

    You did a good job choosing a specific topic that you had something to say about. I think that you did a good job capturing the situation and how older adults specifically are affected, as well as explaining how and why. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but social isolation does logically have an impact and is a particularly important issue amongst older adults who aren’t living with their families, as you discussed. You thoroughly covered treatment methods of talk therapy in addition to medication and why those solutions worked best (but also have limits, as, for example, people can overdose). I also think you did a good job including calls to action and examples of what people could do throughout your presentation, and you encourage people to think of how they personally could connect with older people in their community and/or in their family and help out. The example scenario does a good job at illustrating the problem and as stated, is more engaging than simply listing facts.

    • April 28, 2019 by Veronica Kruschel

      I also think that your personal example (celebrating your grandfather’s birthday) was a good way to make the topics you address more personal and more engaging, as it makes people think of their own relatives/ people in their lives and similar ways they can interact with and help support older adults.

  5. April 30, 2019 by Emma.Sheldon

    Yes, I loved this. I think we often assume that adults have it more together than us, and therefore they seem immune to mental health problems. I liked how you broke down that stigma, as well as addressed how medication effects adults differently. Great job.

  6. May 02, 2019 by Larson Palmgren

    I really liked this project. I think using your grandfather helped to put a face on the issue as well as humanize it. Your project was really informative and I can say I know a lot more about this issue now!

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