Almost half of Canadian seniors living in nursing homes and retirement homes are trying to cope with depression, new research finds. And many are suffering without the help they need.

The study, released Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, found that about one in four (26 per cent) seniors living in a residential care facility, such as a nursing home or long-term care home, had been diagnosed with depression.

A further 18 per cent had symptoms of depression but had not been diagnosed. Many of these residents dealt with persistent anger, tearfulness and repetitive anxiety, yet had not received a diagnosis.

The problem is a serious one becasue, as the researchers note, depression can have serious effects on a senior’s medical condition, their emotional state and general quality of life.

Seniors with symptoms of depression are more likely to display aggressive behaviour, or have conflicts with family members or staff. They are also three times more likely to have sleep disturbances, are less self-sufficient than seniors with no symptoms of depression and more likely to have difficulty communicating.

The researchers note there are lots of reasons why seniors living in nursing homes suffer from depression.

View the complete article at ottawa.ctv.ca.