Editor's Note: Assume Nothing
Like many other "isms" (e.g., sexism, racism, and sizeism), ageism operates on the false foundation of assumptions. Ageism fuels several assumptions made about older adults. One of those assumptions is that depression is a normal part of aging because elders have outlived their friends and family or because they are no longer able to live independently.
This issue's cover story aims to debunk the myth that depression is a normal part of aging. This myth contributes to the underdiagnosis and undertreatment of depression in older adults and the failure to identify the differences that may exist when identifying the condition.
Lack of socialization, a reduced sense of purpose, death and loss, and fear have been found to be significant variables in depression among elders. But as the cover story's author explains, "While these experiences occur at different points across the lifespan, expectations for coping with these experiences is imposed on older adults because of society's contribution toward ageism. Because individuals are old and perhaps closer to the end of their life in comparison with the rest of the population, they are expected to cope better with these significant life experiences."
Our cover story will educate and inform professionals on the nuances of depression in older adults, how it can be identified, and that it should not be assumed to be a condition with which elders can cope without appropriate diagnosis and treatment merely because they've gained the wisdom of age.
Also in this issue are other features on reevaluating the 12-Step model of recovery, mental health and cancer, and the annual presentation of 10 Dedicated & Deserving Social Workers nominated by our readers, their colleagues.
Every year we are privileged to honor these accomplished professionals. It is one of my personal favorite responsibilities as editor to read the stories of these 10 accomplished individuals. We hope you will also enjoy reading their stories and learning more about what motivated their entry into the field and what keeps them inspired to be part of this challenging and rewarding profession.