Frequently Asked Questions
19. How is treatment for depression being improved?
Unfortunately, late-life depression often goes undiagnosed or is inadequately treated. Some studies have found that up to 75 percent of older adults who die by suicide had visited their doctors within one month of their deaths. However, researchers are working to help both doctors and patients better recognize the signs of depression and the potential for suicide in older adults.
One study is developing and testing an education and intervention program designed to help primary care clinics and providers identify and treat late-life depression. Another study found that depressed older adults who had a "care manager" monitor their symptoms, side effects, and progress got better more quickly -- and stayed better longer -- than those who did not have case-managed care.
Finally, researchers are studying the role of hormone changes in late life to find out if hormone replacement therapy may benefit older adults with depression. Other studies are looking to better understand the relationship between other medical illnesses and depression. Still others are looking to help older adults get better access to depression treatment.