Identifying and effectively treating older patients who suffer from depression continues to be a challenge. Primary care providers (PCPs) tend to screen for and treat depression, and although well-intentioned, treatment in a primary care setting does not always yield the best outcome for older patients.
PCPs actually now screen patients for depression more often than they used to, however increased screening has not always led to better treatment. Depression in older adults can present differently than in younger patients, and PCPs who aren’t aware of that may underestimate the severity of depression in their older patients.
Dementia is one of several medical conditions associated with increased rates of depression. Depression in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, occurs in up to 25 percent of patients, and is more frequently diagnosed in patients with mild to moderate AD. Even higher rates of major depression have been linked to dementias associated with Parkinson’s disease and strokes.
What is good health? I think it’s safe to say that the answer to that question is not the same for everyone. To some it may mean the absence of disease. For others it may be effectively managing a chronic condition. But for many of us, good health involves a combination of physical, psychosocial and emotional well-being and the interplay between all three.