Although the likelihood of depression in adults over 65 is lower than in younger adults, its occurrence in older adults may be more severe. Seniors at risk for depression are often underserved by the mental health profession and have the highest rates of suicide in the US.
Clinically significant depressive symptoms are present in approximately 15% of older adults living alone or with a caregiver. Rates of depression are higher in older women than in older men, as well as medical outpatients, medical inpatients, and residents of long-term care facilities. Depression risk is also greatest in patients facing the transition from their home or a caregiver or relocating to congregate living. Most older adults struggling with depression are also managing other chronic conditions, medications and physical decline that contribute to depression. However, many seniors are resistant to treatment because they don't want to burden their families, or equate depression with weakness or even death.