As well as feelings of sadness and low mood, aged care residents with depression feel uninterested in activities, hopeless about the future, guilty about the past and may desire death.
Some actively contemplate taking their own lives. The prevalence rate of suicidal thoughts in residential aged care settings can be as high as 46%. This is more than three times the rate found in older adults who are housebound but in the community.
People entering residential aged care facilities are, on average, older than those living in the community. They have more complex care needs due to physical and cognitive difficulties. They may also have difficulties adjusting to their loss of independence and routine. These factors all increase their risk of depression and suicidal ideation.