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Depression in Older Adults

Cahoon, Cynthia G. MS, DNP, PMHNP-BC, APRN

AJN, American Journal of Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000422251.65212.4b
Feature Articles

Overview: Depression affects an estimated 15% to 19% of Americans ages 65 and older living in a variety of settings, yet the illness often goes unrecognized and untreated. Known risk factors for older adults include having chronic medical conditions, physical or cognitive functional decline, polypharmacy, experiencing multiple losses, and social isolation. There are brief screening tools that have proven effective in this population, and once recognized, depression is highly treatable. This article describes the signs and symptoms common in older adults, outlines several types of depressive disorders, discusses screening tools, describes treatment modalities, and addresses nursing implications.

In Brief

This guide to recognizing and treating depression in older adults describes signs and symptoms common in this population, outlines several types of depressive disorders, discusses screening tools, and addresses nursing implications.

Author Information

Cynthia G. Cahoon is a full-time assistant professor of nursing at Keene State College and a part-time psychiatric NP at Monadnock Family Services, both in Keene, NH. Contact author: The author has disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.