Geriatric Depression is common among those who have Alzheimer’s dementia
In fact, Geriatric Depression has become more common for everyone as they age. Studies show that depression has become a common illness later in life.
The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation (GMHF) said that 15 out of 100 elderly people (65 years and up) show depressive symptoms. Meantime, according to Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, five million out of 31 million Americans aged 65 and older experience depression.
Many believe that depression is a natural part of agin, but that is not true. Geratric depression is not considered a natural part of aging. When it is left untreated, multiple psychiatric and physical disorders will likely ensue. The good news is, like other common diseases, depression can be detected, prevented, and treated.
If healthcare workers, families, and caregivers recognize the early signs of depression among the elderly, proper treatment and care can be provided.
Because of the alarming depression rate among elderly people, it only seems logical to design measurement to predict or detect them accurately.
Stanford University has provided 15 questions that can help assess older adults’ risks of having depressive behaviors. This free online tool is available in several languages and in the public domain.
How you have felt over the past week? Choose the best answers from below.
- Are you basically satisfied with your life? YES / NO
- Have you dropped many of your activities and interests? YES / NO
- Do you feel that your life is empty? YES / NO
- Do you often get bored? YES / NO
- Are you in good spirits most of the time? YES / NO
- Are you afraid that something bad is going to happen to you? YES / NO
- Do you feel happy most of the time? YES / NO
- Do you often feel helpless? YES / NO
- Do you prefer to stay at home, rather than going out and doing new things? YES / NO
- Do you feel you have more problems with memory than most? YES / NO
- Do you think it is wonderful to be alive now? YES / NO
- Do you feel pretty worthless the way you are now? YES / NO
- Do you feel full of energy? YES / NO
- Do you feel that your situation is hopeless? YES / NO
- Do you think that most people are better off than you are? YES / NO
Answers in Bold indicate Depression
- A score > 5 points in BOLD is suggestive of depression
- A score > 10 points in BOLD is almost always indicative of depression
This Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) is a validated screening tool specifically designed to measure the risks of depression among elderly people. The GDS comes in 2 common types: a 30-item and the 15-item self-rating scale. For patients suffering from cognitive impairment may consider other more sophisticated measurement tool. Don’t hesitate to consult the nearest healthcare centers in your area to ask about these examinations.
Once diagnosed, it is important to keep a regular follow-up and seek active medication management in order to get the maximum benefits of treatment. Let’s not rule out depressive behaviors as normal emotions rather we should resort to medical diagnostics the moment we see tell-tale signs of geriatric depression.
Stay as Active as you can and get as much exercise as possible.