Depression in the Older Adult: References

Depression can be difficult to recognize in older adults for several reasons. To make things even more complicated, it is often thought of as a normal part of aging. However, this is not true. Depression is very common in older adults and presents different symptoms than it does in younger adults. There is opportunity for improvement in advanced practice nurses knowledge surrounding depression and treatment of depression in older adults.


Advanced practice nurses need to be aware of how depressive symptoms are presented in older adults and be knowledgeable about DSM-V criteria, as it relates to diagnosing depression. Along with this knowledge, it is important for APNs to identify the medical, cultural, and psychosocial issues surrounding treatment to understand how best to prescribe treatment to the patient.


Depression is very common in older adults, but often goes unrecognized, and therefore, untreated. An analysis done on older adults and depression diagnosis, showed that the point of prevalence of major depression in over 75 years of age, ranged from 4.6% to 9.3% (Luppa, et al., 2012). In addition to this, there is an increased risk of depression for those that are diagnosed with brain disorders such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and systemic disease (Luppa, et al., 2012). Due to the complex nature of depression in older adults, it is important that providers understand the unique symptomology of older adult depression and be able to effectively prescribe treatment for the patient.



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Cohen, D. & Eisdorfer, C. (2011). Integrated textbook of geriatric mental health, The Johns Hopkins University Press

Ebert, M. & Leckman, J. (2015). Current diagnosis and treatment: Psychiatry (2nd ed.) Appelton & Lange (3rd edition due out in November)

Perese, E.F. (2012) Psychiatric Advanced practice nursing: A biopsychosocial foundation for practice, F.A.Davis

Prost E. (2018). Geriatric Examination Tool Kit. University of Missouri, School of Health Professions, Department of Physical Therapy

Splash. (2018). Retrieved from

Stahl, S. M. (2013) Stahls. essential psychopharmacology (4th ed), Cambridge Medicine

Tusaire, K.R. & Fitzpatrick J.J. (2013) Advanced practice nursing: Integrating psychotherapy, psychopharmacology and complementary and alternative approaches, Springer

Additional Resources


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