J A Yesavitch first created the geriatric depression scale in 1982 amongst others. There is a shorter geriatric depression rating scale with fifteen questions and a longer one with thirty questions. These depression scales have been translated into a variety of languages and the scale is a relatively quick way to identify a depression problem. Of course, further tests might be needed after the depression scale is used but it is a good started point to identify whether somebody has depression or not.
Yesavitch and his colleagues originally came up with a hundred statements that they were sure were related to seven common depression characteristics in older people. These seven characteristics were lack of self-esteem, impaired motivation, a lack of future orientation, somatic concern, inability to express emotion, feelings of discrimination and cognitive impairment.
The best thirty were selected from the original list of a hundred questions. Forty-six depressed and non-depressed older people took the test, and then twenty non-depressed and fifty-one depressed patients. The test was eighty four percent sensitive and ninety five percent accurate for depression diagnosis, which is why the geriatric depression scale test remains useful and in frequent clinical use today.
The questions on the geriatric depression rating scale are simple so even slightly or moderately impaired people can complete them. The questions on this depression scale are answerable with a yes or no, since many individuals find that easier than a five-category response set. For example, "do you often feel depressed" is easier to answer with a yes or no that with a "how depressed do you normally feel on a scale of one to five" which some people might have trouble with.
The geriatric depression scale is often used as a routine part of a geriatric assessment. One point is given for each answer and the points are added up on a scoring grid. From these results, the patient can be diagnosed as normal for a score of nine, less, mildly depressed for a score of ten to nineteen, or severely depressed if they have a score of twenty or more. The most that can be scored is thirty.
A clinical depression diagnosis should not be based solely on the geriatric depression scale results. The test is valid and reliable but in order to accurately diagnose somebody suffering from depression or to find out the severity or type of depression, it is best to do a complete diagnostic work up and use the results from the geriatric depression rating scale as part of the findings.
It is a good idea to set a time frame when giving somebody the test to take or taking it yourself. For example, you might want to think about how you have been feeling over the past two weeks because some questions ask about how you have feeling recently. The last two weeks are both easy to remember, especially for someone suffering from memory problems, and recent enough to provide a good insight into the nature and severity of the depression.
The geriatric depression scale can be filled in either by the individual or administered by the interviewer, for example if the elder cannot see well enough or if they have very shaky hands. It is thought that the results might be more accurate if the healthcare professional asks the questions rather than if the individual fills them in themselves, in case they misread the question or misunderstand it and do not want to say so.
Please answer the following yes no answers as truthfully as possible this is for your own good to give the most accurate answers possible in your results.
This test is designed to be a preliminary screening test for depressive symptoms that does not replace in any way a formal psychiatric examination. It is designed to give a preliminary screening for the presence of moderate to mild depressive symptoms that may necessitate the need for an a more in-depth psychiatric evaluation by a trained professional. Although this test is not a scientific test it is an indication of a potential problem and we urge the taker to seek medical advice if in any doubt or suspicion that depression might be an issue. Depression is treatable with the help of a trained professional.
This self-test is not designed as a substitute to a clinical assessment but rather to help you assess your general condition. If you score as depressed you should seek out help from a licensed mental health provider, we can not stress this enough. Natural Help Depression assumes no liability with the accuracy of this test it is for entertainment purposes only and when in doubt about any medical condition one should seek out the advice of a licensed medical doctor or physiatrist. Although we have taken do diligence to check the accuracy of this test we are not trained medical persons and our advice should be treated as if it came from any lay person not a professional opinion.
This oversight definitely has consequences. Depression in the elderly, which is left untreated, poses risks for the elders in question, which include prescription drug and alcohol abuse, illness, a higher mortality rate and suicide. This is why it is crucial to watch for depression warning signs and seek professional help when need be. With the right support and treatment, depressed seniors can be helped.
Nobody has to live with depression, whether he or she are eighteen or eighty. When looking at depression elderly people are often ignored, which is so wrong. Everyone has the right to the depression help he or she truly deserve.
Before even using the geriatric depression scale, it is important to screen an elderly patient for other health problems, which can affect mood. These can include thyroid problems, electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, hormonal imbalances, and deficiencies, especially vitamin B12 deficiency.
Chronic medical conditions can understandably cause depression, especially when the patient is disabled, in constant pain or has a terminal disease. Brain illnesses can cause depression. Multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, or a heart attack can lead to depression in the elderly.
Medications can also cause depressive side effects or worsen existing depression. Failure to take medication can cause depression too. Elderly people can be forgetful and having to take multiple prescriptions can be a problem.
Painkillers, steroids, arthritis medicine, hormones, tranquilizers, cancer drugs, high blood pressure drugs, and heart disease medication can all induce depression.
After using the geriatric depression scale and ruling out medication side effects or chronic pain as the cause of depression, there are different choices when it comes to treating elderly depression. Antidepressants are frequently prescribed and these can ease depression. If the depression is the result of poor health, loneliness, or chronic pain, antidepressant medication is unlikely to help.
In addition, elderly people are more sensitive to the side effects of drugs and they might not combine well with other medications they are taking. A depressed old person might forget their antidepressants. In addition, SSRIs like Prozac can cause a higher risk of falls, fractures, and rapid bone loss, meaning that antidepressants are not necessarily the right way to go.
Therapy and counseling can work well, whether the elderly person with depression has it mildly or moderately. Therapy addresses the underlying causes of the depression, which antidepressant medication does not.
Cognitive behavior therapy helps people to change negative thinking patterns into positive ones and cope better. Support groups help a depressed person to connect with others going through similar challenges. Supportive counseling can ease both loneliness and the hopelessness associated with depression. Psychotherapy can help people come to terms with loss; stressful life changes and can help with overbearing emotions.
The loss of a sharp mind is not necessarily age-related because it can also be a depression symptom. Both depression patients and dementia patients can suffer from sluggish speech, memory problems, and low motivation levels so it can sometimes be hard to tell them apart.
However, with depression mental decline happens quickly, unlike with dementia. A depressed person will know the right time, date, and location of where they are. A depressed person might have concentration difficulties but a person with dementia is more likely to have difficulties with their short-term memory. Writing, motor and speech skills might be impaired in someone with dementia but these are normal or reasonably good in a depressed elderly person without dementia. A depressive will worry about their memory problems or at least notice them. A dementia patient will either not notice or not seem to care.
If an elderly person is suffering from a cognitive decline, a quick diagnosis and effective treatment are vital, whether it is depression or dementia. With depression treatment, the memory, energy, and concentration should come back. With dementia treatment, the symptoms can also be slowed, stopped, or reversed. The most important thing is to seek prompt help and take it from there.
Elderly depression is quite widespread and one in six geriatric patients under the care of a general practitioner suffer from it. Depression in elderly people is even more common in nursing homes and hospitals. A lot of medical problems which elderly people are prone to might be intensified by, or related to, depression and the elderly have the highest suicide rate of any group.
According to the National Institute of Health, two million Americans over the age of sixty-five suffer from full-blown depression. Another five million suffer from less severe depression. With the population of over sixty fives being a total of thirty five million, this is quite a lot of depressed elderly people, many who sadly go undiagnosed for longer than necessary or at all.
The creation of the geriatric depression scale was prompted by these statistics. Before the geriatric depression scale's development, other depression monitoring scales like the Hamilton rating scale for depression, the Zung self-rating depression scale and the Beck Depression Inventory were used.
The geriatric depression scale is not mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association but it is widely used in clinics and still part of most geriatric assessment routines. The geriatric depression scale is also used for research about the elderly and depression.
Many elderly people face difficult changes, such as age-related medical problems or the death of a spouse. These changes can lead to depression, especially if the elderly person does not have access to a good support system. A lot of older people are happy with their lives despite the challenges of aging and depression is certainly not a normal part of the aging process.
Untreated depression can take a toll on the already fragile health of an elderly person and it can stop life from being the enjoyable experience it once was. If you learn how to spot depression symptoms in the elderly means that you can find ways to help them.
Loss is a painful part of life, whether the loss in question is a loss of mobility, health, independence, a career, or a loved one. Grief is normal and sometimes the sad feelings can last for weeks or months. Losing all joy and hope is not normal, however - it is depression.
Depression in the elderly might be a common problem but this does not mean that more than a few get the help they require and deserve. There are several reasons why depression in the elderly is often overlooked.
Some people assume that depression is a part of aging. Elderly people are often isolated and do not have regular visitors to notice their distress and sadness. Doctors often treat physical complaints in the elderly before mental ones and depressed elders are often reluctant to discuss their feelings or ask for the help they so desperately need.