January 8th, 2007
Important life changes that we make as we get older may cause
feelings of uneasiness, stress, and sadness. For instance, the
death of a loved one, moving from work into retirement, or dealing
with a serious illness can leave people feeling sad or anxious.
After a period of adjustment, many older adults can regain their
emotional balance, but others do not and may develop depression.
About two million Americans age 65 or older suffer from major depression,
and another five million suffer from less severe forms of the illness.
has added depression to its list of health topics of interest to
older adults. This senior-friendly medical Web site is a joint
effort of the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National
Library of Medicine (NLM), which are part of the National Institutes
of Health (NIH).
“Although depression is common among older adults, it is not
a normal part of aging,” says Thomas R. Insel, M.D., director of
the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), which developed
the content for the depression topic on NIHSeniorHealth. In fact,
studies show that most older adults feel satisfied with their lives.
However, when older adults do suffer from depression, it may be
overlooked because they may be less willing to talk about feelings
of sadness or grief. “NIHSeniorHealth is an excellent source of
easy-to-understand information about how to recognize the symptoms
of depression, how it is diagnosed and treatment options,” says
Older Americans increasingly are turning to the Internet for health
information. In fact, 68 percent of “wired” seniors surf for health
and medical information when they go online. NIHSeniorHealth, which
is based on the latest research on cognition and aging, features
short segments of information in a variety of formats, including
large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos and even a talking
version. Additional topics coming soon to the site include clinical
trials, nutrition and skin cancer. The site links to MedlinePlus,
NLM’s premier, more detailed site for consumer health information.
The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting
research on aging and the health and well-being of older people.
The NLM, the world's largest library of the health sciences,
creates and sponsors Web-based health information resources for
the public and professionals. The NIMH supports research on mental
and behavioral disorders. All three are components of the NIH
in Bethesda, Maryland.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
Stephanie Dailey, NIA
Kathy Cravedi, NLM