Depression for seniors

Depression is the most common mental health problem among older adults, affecting up to 20% of elderly individuals in the United States. Although the rate of older adults with depressive symptoms tends to increase with age, older individuals are less likely than younger adults to have major depression but have comparable or higher rates of less severe depressive disorders such as minor depression and dysthymic disorder. All three of these depressive disorders may lead to significant disability and poorer quality of life.

Research studies have shown that home-based treatments like the PEARLS Program are effective at reducing depression and improving quality of life among socially isolated, chronically ill seniors.

Depression impacts the lives of older adults in many of the same ways it impacts younger adults with depression. In particular, older adults with depression visit the doctor and emergency room more often, incur higher outpatient charges and stay longer in the hospital. Depression also negatively influences physical functioning, the ability to adapt to medical illness, treatment adherence, satisfaction with care and overall quality of life. Given that many older adults have multiple chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, depression’s complicating effect on the course and treatment of other chronic conditions is a major concern for this age group.

Research studies have shown that home-based treatments like the PEARLS Program are effective at reducing depression and improving quality of life among socially isolated, chronically ill seniors.