Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2023 Dec 25:1-8. doi: 10.1080/13651501.2023.2296889. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVES: To study (i) the prevalence of mild and moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms in the entire spectrum of cognitive ageing in Greece and (ii) the relationship between these symptoms and demographic and clinical data.
METHODS: The study was based on the randomly selected cohort of the Hellenic Longitudinal Investigation of Aging and Diet (HELIAD). Depressive symptoms were assessed with the 15-item version of the Geriatric Depression Scale. Participants also received a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment, while the clinical diagnoses of dementia and mild cognitive impairment were established according to international diagnostic criteria. Statistical analyses relied on comparison tests and a logistic (proportional odds) ordinal regression model.
RESULTS: Depressive symptoms were detected in 19.5% of the 1936 study participants, while 11.3% of both people with MCI and dementia had moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms. The regression model revealed that older adults with more severe depressive symptoms were more likely female, cognitively impaired, less educated, were treated with psychotropic medication and lived in Attica versus Thessaly.
CONCLUSIONS: Since depressive symptoms were detected in almost one in five older adults, healthcare professionals in Greece should safeguard the timely detection and effective treatment of such symptoms and the post-diagnostic care of older adults with depression.Key pointsDepressive symptoms are present in approximately 20% of older adults.More than 10% of older individuals with dementia or mild cognitive impairment report moderate-to-severe depressive symptoms.Female sex, lower education, lower cognitive performance, living in urban areas and treatment with psychotropic medication pertain to more severe depressive symptoms in ageing.Timely detection and effective treatment of depressive symptoms are crucial in the clinical practice of the care of older adults.Further research is needed in order to elucidate the complex relationship between depressive symptoms and cognitive impairment in ageing.