DEPRESSION IN THE ELDERLY: A LITERATURE REVIEW
Studies indicate that older adults are commonly subject to depression (McDougall, 1994, pp. 212-218). Depression is possibly the most serious of the psychological problems that are faced by older adults (Badger, 1994, pp. 144-146). Literature is reviewed in relation to the development, experience, and treatment of depression in elderly persons.
As individuals age, psychological, physiological, and sociological changes occur that cause interpersonal communication to become more difficult, while simultaneously increasing the need of the individual for effective interpersonal communication (McDougall, 1993, pp. 28-30). Often, neither the elderly individual nor younger persons interacting with the elderly individual are cognizant of such changes. The outcomes of such a situation are all too often social and physical isolation for the elderly with predictable further psychological and physiological deteriorations.
Depression in older adults is often either induced or exacerbated by problems related to the social and physical isolation stemming from life cycle changes. The capacity to recognize and develop strategies to deal with such life cycle changes before depression develops is required (Dimond, Caserta, and Lund, 1993, pp. 253-268. This requirement establishes the relevance of this investigation of problems and issues associated with depression in the elderly.Summary of the Studies Reviewed
Contemporary studies of depression in the elderly may be grouped as those dealing with the association between depression and (1) a failure to thrive, (2) medical illness, and (3) social factors. Summaries of the studies reviewed are grouped similarly.
An exploratory study investigated the relationships between nursing home patients and persons living in a congregate housing facility, a failure to thrive, and depression (Newbern and Krowchuk, 1994, pp. 840-849). The study found ...