Assessment of the person with late-life depression

Psychiatr Clin North Am. 2013 Dec;36(4):545-60. doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2013.08.004. Epub 2013 Oct 6.


This article discusses characteristic factors in the presentation of depressive disorders in persons older than age 65 years. Clinical presentation is discussed along with risk and protective factors. Detailed descriptions of tests useful for screening and diagnosis of depression in the elderly are presented. Each test is reviewed according to time to administer, sensitivity and specificity, outcomes, advantages, and disadvantages. The importance of clinical history and the diagnostic interview, as well as the role of laboratory studies and neuroimaging in the clinical evaluation are discussed.

Keywords: Clinical evaluation of depression; Clinical presentation of depression; Depression; Depression assessment; Geriatric depression; Late-life depression.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Dementia / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological / methods*
  • Medical History Taking / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data