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Depressive symptoms among frail elderly in ordinary living: who is affected and who is treated?


Summary, in English

Objectives: Depression is common but not always recognized and often undertreated among elderly. Cardiovascular diagnoses have been reported to be associated with depression. The study examined if this association could be confirmed in a frail elderly population. It also assessed the association between high depressive scores and certain health complaints and the use of certain drugs, respectively.Method: A total of 153 frail elderly in ordinary living were included. The association between depressive symptoms, assessed by geriatric depression scale (GDS) 20, and an inpatient diagnose of cerebrovascular disease or heart failure was assessed. Depressive symptoms were also compared with health complaints and background data. Furthermore, the use of certain drugs, such as antidepressants and other psychotropics, was compared with depressive symptoms.Results: Risk of depression was seen in 52% of the patients. Those showing risk of depression more often received municipal care or help with medication distribution and were more often treated with sedatives. They also had significantly more health complaints. No differences were found between those who had or did not have a diagnosis of heart failure or transient ischemic attack (TIA)/stroke during hospital care the previous year regarding risk for depression or treatment with antidepressants, respectively. Sixteen per cent were treated with antidepressants and this group was significantly younger than those who were not treated.Conclusion: Those elderly with a GDS score indicating a risk for depression have poorer health, are more dependent on help and are more often treated with sedatives. The study could not confirm an association between heart failure or TIA/stroke and risk for depression.


Publishing year







Aging & Mental Health





Document type

Journal article


Taylor & Francis


  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology




  • Case mangement for frail older people

Research group

  • Family Medicine and Community Medicine
  • Older people's health and Person-Centred care


  • ISSN: 1364-6915