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Geriatric Depression Scale: A tool to assess depression in elderly

Pracheth R, Mayur SS, Chowti JV.

Background: Aging is a progressive stage beginning with conception and ending with death. Growth in the elderly population has led to an increase in age related diseases and mainly depression affecting quality of life. Depression in old age is an emerging public health problem leading to morbidity and disability worldwide.

Aims and Objectives: To assess the prevalence of depression in elderly using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), to determine the factors influencing depression and recommend preventive measures. Study design: A Community Based Cross Sectional Study. Setting: The study was conducted in the urban slums, field practice area of Community Medicine attached to a tertiary care hospital.

Materials and Methods: A Community Based Cross Sectional Study was done for six months in the urban slums and persons aged ≥ 60 years residing in the urban slums were included. Those with any psychiatric morbidity and without consent were excluded. A pre-designed, pre-tested proforma was used to collect information. GDS was used to assess depression

Results: Prevalence of depression was 29.36%. Females (31.39%) were more affected than males (25.93%). 41 (64.06%) among those who were not working were depressed. 45 (70.31%) among illiterates were depressed compared to 19 (29.69%) literates (X2=6.664, df=1, p=0.0098, NS). (64.06%) among those not working, (60.93%) elderly belonging to low socioeconomic status and (54.69%) indulging in substance abuse had depression.

Conclusions: Depression in elderly is highly prevalent. Quality health care of the elderly reduces the future burden of diseases and disabilities.

Key words: Depression; Elderly; Geriatric; Literacy; Substance Abuse

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