If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home, you may be concerned about his or her mental wellness. Many seniors suffer from depression and emotional issues, which can have many serious health effects if left unaddressed. WebMD explains how depression impacts older people and what to look for if you’re concerned for someone you love.

With older people, depression is often accompanied by other types of illnesses and disabilities. It can actually increase the risk of experiencing serious heart problems, including heart attacks. Many older people with depressional also experience insomnia. While it’s estimated that six million elderly people suffer from depression, only ten percent receive treatment for these issues.

When it comes to risk factors, people experiencing chronic pain, stroke, cancer, and dementia symptoms have a higher chance of emotional issues. Lack of socialization and isolations are also factors, and this is especially pertinent for people living in nursing homes. Without a solid social network, it’s difficult for people to thrive. In the same token, the loss of a spouse can also lead to depressive episodes.

In terms of treatments, antidepressants can be prescribed to reduce the effects of depression. While this can be helpful for many people, antidepressant therapy may not have the same impact on an older individual as it would on someone younger. Therapy can also help, especially when paired with medication. If you notice your loved one seems sad or withdrawn it’s important to seek assistance right away. When left unaddressed, emotional issues can have a real impact on a person’s overall health and well-being.