How Common Is Depression And Does It Increase In Elderly Patients?

Major depression affects 2% of persons over the age of 55, and the likelihood of developing it increases as one’s age approaches 60 years. Aside from that, 10 to 15 percent of older persons experience clinically significant depressive symptoms, even when they do not have clinically significant severe depression.

The good news is that the vast majority of older persons do not suffer from depression or anxiety. Several studies have found that serious depression affects between 1% and 5% of older persons who live in the community; however, the figure rises to 13.5 percent in those who require home health care and 11.5 percent in older hospitalized patients.

Why don’t most older adults experience depression?

With so many older persons experiencing disability, grief, or other unpleasant experiences in late life, as well as age-related changes in immunological, neurological, and other biological systems, it is of great interest to learn why so many older adults are not depressed.

What is the presentation of depression in older adults?

Depression manifests itself in a very different manner in older persons than it does in younger adults. The most notable and basic variation in presentation in older persons is that depression can manifest itself without the presence of an affect component, i.e. without the presence of subjective sensations of low mood or sorrow 3,6-9.

Is sleep disturbance a risk factor for depression in older adults?

According to a meta-analysis, sleep disruption is a risk factor for depression in older persons, with a pooled odds ratio of 2.6 and a population attributable risk of 57.0 percent being shown ( Cole & Dendukuri, 2003 ).

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