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AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
FEATURES: A New Look at the Old

Depression & Dispiritedness in Later Life: A ‘gray drizzle of horror’ isn’t inevitable.

Butcher, Howard K. PhD, RN, APRN, BC; McGonigal-Kenney, Meghan BSN, RN

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Abstract

OVERVIEW: The misconception that aging and depression are inevitably entwined is not only common but also dangerous. It can lead to a variety of adverse events, which might have been avoided had the depression been recognized and treated. However, recognizing depression in older adults can be difficult as it may present differently in this population than it does in younger adults. Furthermore, while treatment options are similar, adjustments may need to be made to deal with the physiological changes inherent to age. The authors address the recognition and treatment of depression in older adults. They also propose a diagnosis of dispiritedness, “a feeling of being in low spirits” that they have found to be common among older adults and suggest appropriate nursing interventions.

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. All rights reserved.

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