Older Adults

Mental illness is not a normal part of aging. Experiencing sadness, grief, response to loss and temporary “blue” moods are normal. Persistent depression that significantly interferes with the skills of daily living and relationships is not.

Common Symptoms of Depression

  • Irritability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Confusion
  • Change in appetite
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Misuse of alcohol or medications
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Vague physical complaints
  • Trouble making decisions


Over 80% of older adults diagnosed with depression can be effectively treated. See your healthcare provider if you’re concerned about depression or to rule out other medical conditions. Medications, talk therapy, education and support can help you feel better. A healthy diet, less stress, exercise, affirming relationships, activities you enjoy and a spiritual connection can also help.

NAMI Minnesota is helping to spread this message.

  • To request a presentation, training, or resources on older adults living with mental illnesses, please contact olderadults@namimn.org or  651-645-2948 x113.
  • Check out one of the following NAMI Minnesota fact sheets:

Depression in Older Persons

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): The Winter Blues

  • Get more information from the following newsletters:

Depression and Diabetes, Feb. 2014

Caregiver Burnout, Oct. 2013 DAPS 4th Quarter

Remaining in Your Home of Many Years, Oct. 2013

Befriending Someone with a Mental Illness, Dec. 2012

Sleep and Your Mental Health, DAPS Newsletter, Nov. 2012

A Newsletter of Hope, DAPS Newsletter, Fall 2012

Holistic Approaches for Chronic Illnesses, DAPS Newsletter, Summer 2012

Hospice: Help Navigating Death and Loss, DAPS Newsletter, Summer 2012

Depression is Not a Normal Part of Aging, See DAPS Newsletter Jan. 2012

Singing the Holiday Blues? See DAPS Newsletter, Nov. 2011 issue

For more information on older adults and mental illness at the Department of Human Services