Recently, researchers investigated whether depressive symptoms might make it harder for older adults to perform their regular daily activities. The researchers also wanted to find out whether living circumstances or marital status had any impact on whether depressive symptoms affected older adults' abilities to perform daily activities.
Symptoms of depression are common among older adults. Signs of depressive symptoms include:
- Loss of interest in self-care and/or following medical advice
- Little interest in social activities
- Feeling "empty" inside
- Trouble sleeping and/or feeling anxious
- Trouble concentrating or remembering things
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Change in appetite and weight
- Feelings of helplessness
- Feeling that one is a burden
The researchers examined information from 769 older adults who participated in the Kurabuchi Study starting in 2005. The study was designed to look at how well adults 65-years-old and older could perform their daily functions. The researchers published their study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
The researchers examined information from older adults who could function well at the start of the study. Then the researchers noted any depressive symptoms among the participants. At the end of the 7.5-year-long study, the researchers learned that 30 percent of the participants had symptoms of depression. They also learned that participants with depression symptoms were more likely to have problems in the future performing their regular daily activities.
The association between symptoms of depression and having trouble performing daily activities in the future was not affected by living circumstances or marital status. However, the researchers noted that older adults with symptoms of depression who were married or living with family had an increased risk for being institutionalized.
This summary is from "Relationship between depressive symptoms and ADL dependence in older Japanese: The Kurabuchi Study ". It appears online ahead of print in the September 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The study authors are Takahiro Nakamura, MD, PhD; Takehiro Michikawa, MD, PhD; Haruhiko Imamura, PhD; Toru Takebayashi, MD, PhD; Yuji Nishiwaki, MD, PhD.
About the Health in Aging Foundation
This research summary was developed as a public education tool by the Health in Aging Foundation. The Foundation is a national non-profit established in 1999 by the American Geriatrics Society to bring the knowledge and expertise of geriatrics healthcare professionals to the public. We are committed to ensuring that people are empowered to advocate for high-quality care by providing them with trustworthy information and reliable resources. Last year, we reached nearly 1 million people with our resources through HealthinAging.org. We also help nurture current and future geriatrics leaders by supporting opportunities to attend educational events and increase exposure to principles of excellence on caring for older adults. For more information or to support the Foundation's work, visit http://www.
About the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Included in more than 9,000 library collections around the world, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS) highlights emerging insights on principles of aging, approaches to older patients, geriatric syndromes, geriatric psychiatry, and geriatric diseases and disorders. First published in 1953, JAGS is now one of the oldest and most impactful publications on gerontology and geriatrics, according to ISI Journal Citation Reports®. Visit wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/JGS for more details.
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has -- for 75 years -- worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.