Updated October 2022
Federal government data shows that 10% to 15% of Canadian seniors suffer from depression. And that number is far higher among those in residential care.
Unfortunately, lack of awareness and stigmatization ensures that many cases of geriatric depression go unreported, undiagnosed, and untreated.
Community support workers (CSWs) are not trained to treat elderly clients with depression or make a clinical diagnosis—however, if CSWs can identify the warning signs, they can quickly intervene and connect those clients with potentially life-saving health care services.
This kind of early intervention is key. There are many treatments available for seniors battling depression, including counselling, medication, psychotherapy, and newer forms of brain stimulation. Once diagnosed, depression is highly treatable.
CSWs are front-line health care professionals who often work closely with elderly clients. They have a unique opportunity to help reverse the negative trend of geriatric depression in Canada. The best place to start is by learning how seniors are impacted by this mood disorder, and which warning signs to watch for.