Depression affects all types of people, from young to old. However, it can be much harder for the elderly to deal with it. Aging leads to a decrease in mental and physical abilities. Compared to young adults, they are less able to treat the signs and symptoms of depression. Geriatric psychiatrists use the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) to determine if and to what extent the person is suffering from depression. Geriatric Depression Scale is a 30-item self-report assessment used to identify depression in the elderly and it was developed in 1982 by J.A. Yesavage and others. Read at: (Development and Validation of a Geriatric Depression Screening Scale: a Preliminary Report)
The 30 item questionnaire for GDS:
|1. Are you basically satisfied with your life?|
|2. Have you dropped many of your activities and interests?|
|3. Do you feel that your life is empty?|
|4. Do you often get bored?|
|5. Are you hopeful about the future?|
|6. Are you bothered by thoughts you can’t get out of your head?|
|7. Are you in good spirits most of the time?|
|8. Are you afraid that something bad is going to happen to you?|
|9. Do you feel happy most of the time?|
|10. Do you often feel helpless?|
|11. Do you often get restless and fidgety?|
|12. Do you prefer to stay at home, rather than going out and doing new things?|
|13. Do you frequently worry about the future?|
|14. Do you feel you have more problems with memory than most?|
|15. Do you think it is wonderful to be alive now?|
|16. Do you often feel downhearted and blue?|
|17. Do you feel pretty worthless the way you are now?|
|18. Do you worry a lot about the past?|
|19. Do you find life very exciting?|
|20. Is it hard for you to get started on new projects?|
|21. Do you feel full of energy?|
|22. Do you feel that your situation is hopeless?|
|23. Do you think that most people are better off than you are?|
|24. Do you frequently get upset over little things?|
|25. Do you frequently feel like crying?|
|26. Do you have trouble concentrating?|
|27. Do you enjoy getting up in the morning?|
|28. Do you prefer to avoid social gatherings?|
|29. Is it easy for you to make decisions?|
|30. Is your mind as clear as it used to be?|
How is it different from Beck’s Depression Inventory?
Both are recognized as signs of depression and assess the severity of the victim’s symptoms. However, the GDS is more specific as it is only intended for geriatric patients. Beck Depression Inventory or BDI is more ideal for the general population. It can also be taken by teenagers who are at least 13 years old. Geriatric depression scale is much easier, but longer. It consists of 30 questions, which are divided into five categories. Each question will be answered with yes or no. The BDI, on the other hand, consists of 21 questions with 4 possible answers. The questions fall into two general categories.
However, both tests used a rating system to analyze and interpret the results. Each of the answers is assigned the appropriate score. In the GDS, a person is considered normal if their score is 0 to 9, 10 to 19 as slightly depressed, and 20 to 30 if they are severely depressed.
Note: In fact, there is a shorter version of Geriatric depression scale. You have 15 questions. However, the questionnaire is not available in English.
What are the limitations of Geriatric depression scale?
The geriatrics depression scale should not be the only basis for diagnosing a patient’s medical condition. All you can do is to evaluate depression and its symptoms. There are many more factors that need to be determined before the depression can be officially confirmed. After all, it is possible that a victim not only suffers from depression, but also from dementia and other medical disorders.
In addition, the test can only be performed by a specialist known as a geriatric psychiatrist. He or she specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and care of the elderly who suffer from mental disorders such as dementia, anxiety, schizophrenia and depression.
Why is the depression test important?
Those who suffer from depression need special attention and care. These two are more important in older adults. As mentioned above, their age can significantly affect their ability to take care of themselves.
What should I do if my beloved person is diagnosed with depression?
The first thing to do is find a geriatric psychiatrist. Luckily, there are many of them today. You can find them in nursing homes, supervised residential centers, hospitals and clinics. You can also apply for a referral to your own doctor.
Second, you should be aware that help is available. Therapies and medications are just two of the many options. It also helps if you stay positive. Using subliminal statements or messages changes your negative perceptions into something positive.