Symptoms of depression in the elderly include decreased energy, anxiety, pessimism and feelings of sadness, guilt or worthlessness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other symptoms include insomnia, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating, and persistent aches and pains that don't get better with treatment.
Additional depression symptoms include loss of interest in hobbies the individual once enjoyed, thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts, explains the CDC. Anxiety and feelings of sadness associated with depression last for weeks at a time. Health care providers sometimes mistake symptoms of depression in the elderly for normal life changes due to aging or a reaction to an illness, and elderly individuals often share this belief. This leads to frequent misdiagnosis and under-treatment.
Depression in the elderly often lasts longer than in younger people, and it commonly occurs in conjunction with other medical problems, reports WebMD. Being depressed doubles an elderly person's risk of cardiac diseases, and the risk of illness-caused death also increases. Depression in older people accompanies an increased risk of suicide, as individuals aged 80 to 84 are more than twice as likely to commit suicide as the general population. Elderly individuals should consult their doctors immediately if they believe they may have depression.