During the senior years, some changes \u2013 from wrinkles to gray hair \u2013 are completely normal. But depression isn\u2019t one of them. In fact, by some measures fewer seniors are struggling with depression than younger adults. According to a 2010 analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people ages 65 and older were less likely to report any degree of depression than teenagers and young adults. Also, fewer seniors had major depression than the young adults. However, depression can strike late in life and for many reasons, even among those who\u2019ve never experienced it before. Depression is a serious illness. It can affect overall health, quality of life and even length of life. Staying alert to the causes and warning signs of depression among seniors can lead to earlier treatment and a better outcome. Health and Life Changes That Can Cause Depression Heart disease. Your risk of heart disease rises steeply after age 60. Often, heart disease goes hand-in-hand with depression. Among people with heart disease, more than one-third may show signs of depression. Research has also found major depression in 20 percent of heart attack survivors. In turn, depression can make your health worse if you have heart disease. People who are depressed after a heart attack are more likely to need to return to the hospital, and they\u2019re less likely to make healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercising more. Brain-related issues. Strokes, which cut off the flow of blood to an area of the brain, also become more common later in life. About one-third of stroke survivors develop depression either just after the event or later in their recovery. A similar concern is what is known as vascular depression. This condition can arise when the blood vessels that lead to the brain become damaged over time, reducing blood flow. This can affect areas of the brain that regulate mood. Other brain-related conditions that become more common with age and raise the risk of depression include Alzheimer\u2019s disease and Parkinson\u2019s disease. Diabetes. Though fewer than 10 percent of Americans overall have diabetes, that number rises to more than 25 percent in adults ages 65 and older. According to the National Institutes of Health, people with diabetes have twice the risk of depression. Experts aren\u2019t sure why. However, living with diabetes can be stressful, since controlling it requires effort and the disease can lead to many serious complications. Over time, the stress it causes might lead to depression. Medications. As you get older, you\u2019re more likely to take medications. In fact, many seniors take quite a few different medicines. Some medications, including several for treating heart problems and blood pressure, have been linked to depression. Sleeping problems. Insomnia is a common problem among seniors. Poor sleep, in turn, raises the risk that older adults will develop depression. It can also lengthen the duration of a depressive episode. Life changes. Many developments that are likely to occur in the later stages of your life can leave you feeling depressed. These include: \tFor most people, this change doesn\u2019t lead to depression, but it can, particularly among those who retire early. \tMoney issues. Financial strain is one of the most common sources of stress in older adults, and it raises the risk of lingering depression. \tDeaths of loved ones and friends. \tLoss of mobility and independence. \tSpending less time socializing. Loneliness can raise the risk of depression. \tChildren and grandchildren living far away. \tThe stress of acting as a caregiver for an ailing friend or loved one. Managing Depression Late in Life You may not realize that you have depression, because the symptoms are not always obvious and can appear to be related to health problems or other factors. Symptoms of depression include: \tPoor appetite \tA sense of hopelessness \tTrouble concentrating \tTiredness or lack of energy \tIrritability \tForgetfulness \tLoss of interest in socializing If you suspect that you may be suffering from depression, talk to your doctor. Depression in older adults is treatable. One common option is therapy with a counselor. Even a short course of sessions in which you learn new thought processes or habits may be helpful. Your doctor may also recommend treatment with antidepressant medications, which have been found highly effective in treating depression.