Lorraine Phillips Logo In accordance to the American Geriatrics Society, 30 to 40 percent of nursing home residents are affected by depression and many a times go unrecognized. Experts from the University of Missouri claim to have laid hands on a series of indicators, other than changes in mood that are linked with the development of depression in nursing home residents. It was suggested that elderly depression appears together with non-mood symptoms therefore, the condition is possibly overlooked by traditional screening methods.

Development of depression is supposedly characterized with heightened verbal aggression, urinary incontinence, increased pain, weight loss, alterations in care needs, decline in cognitive ability and reduction in performance of every day chores. Usually physicians may look at mood symptoms, conduct interviews and depend on self-reporting of depression symptoms for diagnosing an individual with depression. However, such methods probably overlook non-mood symptoms and depression among the elderly goes unidentified.

Lorraine Phillips, assistant professor in the Sinclair School of Nursing, added, “Prompt diagnosis and treatment of depression is essential to improve the quality of life for nursing home residents. Many elderly people develop certain clinical characteristics at the same time they develop depression. Understanding these changes is essential to quickly and accurately diagnosing depression in nursing home residents.”

In the study, data of more than 14,000 nursing home residents aged 65 and older not diagnosed with depression was assessed. Changes in several factors such as mood alterations, differences related to the development of depression during a three-month interval of time were thoroughly scrutinized. The outcome was that men and women in nursing homes apparently had an equal risk of depression. Scientists predict that residents with increased verbal aggression have 69 percent more chances of being diagnosed with depression than those without these changes. Elevated depression diagnosis was seemingly associated with a decline in activities of daily living like feeding or dressing one’s self.

The study was published in the Journal of Gerontological Nursing.