Depression Prevention in Older Adults Objective: Prevent and control depression in client due to recent loss of spouse

What You Need to Know

  • More than two million of the 34 million Americans age 65 and older suffer from some form of depression
  • Symptoms of clinical depression can be triggered by other chronic illnesses common in later life, such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • One-third of widows/widowers meet criteria for depression in the first month after the death of their spouse, and half of these individuals remain clinically depressed after one year
  • Older patients with symptoms of depression have roughly 50% higher healthcare costs than non-depressed seniors

Interventions to Reduce Depression

  • Active screening for depression
  • Patient education
  • Prescription of anti depressives
  • Weekly meetings with a psychiatrist to talk over feelings
  • Continued adherence to normal daily schedule

How Does This Help?

  • Early screening can help prevent serious depression and lead to a happier client
  • Teaching the patient signs and symptoms of depression and how to cope with it can help them know when to get help and the different services available to them
  • Medications can help keep the depression under control and help keep ADLs under control
  • Speaking with a psychiatrist can help treat depression and bring a sense of relieved hopelessness to the client

Source 1:

Healthy People 2020

Source 2:

Pre/post test

Utilize the Geriatric Depression Scale to determine severity of depression

1. Where can you go to get help with depression?

Pre answer: The doctor or psychiatrist

Post answer: Your doctor or psychiatrist

2. Are there preventative measures you can take? Y/N

Pre answer: Yes

Post answer: Yes

3. Who gets depressed?

Pre: Everyone

Post: Anyone, especially those who have lost a spouse or are diagnosed with a chronic illness

4. Do you have to have a previous disease to be diagnosed with depression? Y/N

Pre: No

Post: No

5. What are some ways to treat depression

Pre: Medication, talking with psychiatrsit

Post: Medication, talking with psychiatrist, early detection, maintenance of friendships and daily routines

Depression is not a choice but there are ways to prevent and treat it. Losing a spouse is a leading cause of depression in older adults and can lead to a cascade of new feelings never experienced before. It is important to seek help and remain hopeful for the life you are living

If You Want to Know More

  • Visit your physician and ask for information on who to meet with
  • Search for local groups in your area to meet and discuss with people who are experiencing the same things as you
  • Consult with your physician and psychiatrist on the best steps for you and set up weekly meetings if necessary
  • Pamphlets and interest reviewed articles are at your disposal


Depression In Older Adults: More Facts. (2015, April 28). Retrieved March 04, 2017, from

Fiske, A., Wetherell, J. L., & Gatz, M. (2009). Depression in Older Adults. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 5, 363–389. Retrieved March 04, 2017 ,from


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