Purpose of review
Depression is a common and disabling disorder that affects people of all ages and 10% of those older than 65 years. Current strategies to decrease the personal and societal burden of depression in older age rely on the management of people with depression or of those at risk, but benefits have been limited and data remain scant.
Existing data suggest that decreasing the onset of a depressive disorder in people at risk is a reasonable way of reducing its prevalence in the community. Older adults with subthreshold symptoms of depression and those who have suffered a stroke have been successfully targeted with various interventions. In addition, the use of collaborative care has improved the immediate and long-term outcome of patients with depression. Finally, the findings of epidemiological studies indicate that a more systematic approach to the management of risk factors might improve the outcome of patients and those at risk, but trial data are still lacking.
Current evidence suggests that it is possible to decrease the prevalence of depression in later life, but a more systematic approach to the assessment and management of older adults is necessary.