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  • Writer's pictureNikita Chand

The 3 D’s of Healthcare – Depression

The 3 D’s of healthcare are Dementia, Delirium and Depression that you should get familiar with. Each of these D’s will be examined separately so that you can get a better understanding. The third and final D that we will look into is Depression. This week we will learn about the signs, symptoms and causes of Depression, as well as the caregivers role in caring for a patient suffering from Depression.


Depression is a mental state of being that is quite common in the older adult population. Unfortunately, depression is underdiagnosed in this population and therefore not fully addressed or treated.

Depression is diagnosed if the patient has had two consecutive weeks of some of the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of hopelessness and despair, expressing thoughts of wanting to end their life.

  • Decreased appetite or overeating, weight loss or weight gain.

  • Excessive drug or alcohol intake

  • Avoiding all social interactions, no longer wanting to engage in hobbies, friends or family members

  • Self neglect

  • Unable to keep job

  • Depressed mood for most of the day, etc.

It is important to distinguish depression from other commonly used words that people mistakenly use to describe depression. Feeling the “blues,” sadness, weary, “low,” are usually reserved for people when they are experiencing short term emotions of general sadness.

Causes for a patient developing depression are widespread and individual. Some examples include: loss of a spouse, loss of a pet, diagnoses of a terminal illness (cancer), chronic pain, loss of independence such as the loss of their driver’s license, forced to move from their home due to increasing disability or disease, social isolation, bankruptcy, etc.

Not everyone that experiences one of the above will develop depression, some people are able to combat hardship and sorrow more effectively with a combination of personality and character traits, resiliency, social supports and positive coping skills.

Positive coping skills are vital in gradually overcoming tragedy in our lives. These include: deep breathing, meditation, exercise, journaling, praying, music therapy, talking to others, etc. Negative coping skills include: excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, gambling, etc.

If you think your patient has depression or you are concerned that he/she may be showing signs of depression, take action and notify your supervisor. Do not allow your patient to have to continue to deal with their depression alone.

8 Tips to Beat Depression

Actively listening and learning about how they are feeling is the first step in recognizing the issue. Take note of the signs of depression that were listed above to see if your patient is exhibiting any of them. Try to practice the positive coping skills mentioned above with your patient to see if they are helpful at all.

If depression continues to linger, your patient may need a visit with their family doctor to discuss the possibility of an antidepressant medication or professional counselling.

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