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Depression in the Elderly Often Overlooked - Screening for Depression


Common causes of depression in the elderly are:

  • Loss/death of a spouse or partner

  • Loss/death of family members

  • Loss/death of friends

  • Loss/death of a pet

  • Loss of health/functional limitations of activities of daily living

  • Social isolation

  • Addiction

  • Family history

  • Selling/leaving home for a facility

Screening for Depression: Geriatric Depression Scale, Mood Scale (short form)


Geriatric Depression Scale (short form) Instructions: Circle the answer that best describes how you felt over the past week.


1. Are you basically satisfied with your life? yes no

2. Have you dropped many of your activities and interests? yes no

3. Do you feel that your life is empty? yes no

4. Do you often get bored? yes no

5. Are you in good spirits most of the time? yes no

6. Are you afraid that something bad is going to happen to you? yes no

7. Do you feel happy most of the time? yes no

8. Do you often feel helpless? yes no

9. Do you prefer to stay at home, rather than going out and doing things? yes no

10. Do you feel that you have more problems with memory than most? yes no

11. Do you think it is wonderful to be alive now? yes no

12. Do you feel worthless the way you are now? yes no

13. Do you feel full of energy? yes no

14. Do you feel that your situation is hopeless? yes no

15. Do you think that most people are better off than you are? yes no


Total Score

Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) Scoring Instructions Instructions: Score 1 point for each bolded answer. A score of 5 or more suggests depression. Scores of 10 or more are almost always depression.


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