SEOUL, Sept. 30 (Korea Bizwire) – As more and more people in their 60s and older in Korea are dealing with depression, there’s a growing need to pay attention to mental health among the elderly, especially as the country is moving towards having a significant elderly population.
In 2021, statistics from the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service showed that 35.69 percent of all individuals diagnosed with depression were aged 60 and above. To put it in perspective, in the same year, only 25.15 percent of the population fell into this age group.
Furthermore, the rate of depression per 1,000 people was notably higher among those in their 60s (20.7), 70s (31.9), and 80s and older (31.6) compared to the overall rate (18.1 per 1,000 people).
Experts suggest that the primary reason for depression in older adults is a sense of loss. As we age, our physical health tends to decline, and we might also grapple with other health issues like high blood pressure and degenerative arthritis.
Additionally, financial strain after retirement or increased social isolation following the loss of a loved one or friend can heighten the risk of developing depression.
Social factors play a significant role as well. Factors such as high levels of poverty among the elderly and a growing negative attitude towards them in society can contribute to depression in later life.
It’s essential to remain vigilant because late-life depression can lead to other conditions, including dementia, and in severe cases, may even lead to extreme actions. According to Do-Kwan Kim, a professor at Sungkyunkwan University College of Medicine, studies have shown that late-life depression increases the risk of dementia more than twofold for individuals in the same age group.
Kim also points out that depression can cause a very negative and pessimistic outlook on life, and 10 to 20 percent of patients may consider extreme measures. This risk is higher among the elderly due to their more vulnerable socioeconomic status.
Since older adults often dismiss depression as a normal part of aging, it’s crucial to detect and treat it early.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)