The interdisciplinary team will provide a coordinated, consistent approach with in the continuum of care for depression in the older adult.
Depression is a prevalent but under recognized and under treated mental health issue of the elderly. It is estimated that major and minor depression occur in those over 65 years of age at the following rates: community dweller (13%), medical outpatient (24%), acute care (30%) and care facilities (43%) (Kurlowicz, 1997). The number of incidents of depression increases in those with severe and chronic disabling conditions; such as those elderly in acute and long-term care settings. Depression frequently coexists with Dementia.
Depression contributes to functional decline in the older person. The symptoms present differently in an older person than a younger person. The older adult may deny changes in mood, behaviour, and feelings of worth, usefulness and vibrancy. They often attribute these feelings to being older or declining health. Depression in the elderly may present with somatic complaints. The recovery rate varies; approximately one-third of those depressed will recover with treatment with no remissions, another third will recover from an episode and then relapse, while another third will only partially or never recover. It is meaningful to screen for indicators of depression in all clients and to initiate appropriate treatment options. When consistent instruments are used in assessing older persons for depression their functional abilities and mood alterations can be tracked over time. Further, timely initiation of appropriate interventions can improve the older persons quality of life and assist in maintaining their independence and sense of well being.