Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link

Prevention of Psychosocial Problems in Older Adults


Magda Lenartowicz

, MD, Altais Health Solutions

Reviewed/Revised May 2023
View Patient Education

Depression screening is recommended because depression Depressive Disorders Depressive disorders are characterized by sadness severe enough or persistent enough to interfere with function and often by decreased interest or pleasure in activities. Exact cause is unknown... read more is common among older adults. Several validated screening tests for depression (eg, , Hamilton Depression Scale, Patient Health Questionnaire-9 [PHQ-9]) can be used. Screening is relatively easy; several instruments do not require a physician for administration. For patients who feel lonely or isolated, social worker assistance to increase social contacts may prevent morbidity and postpone death. For those who are depressed, appropriate intervention with counseling or medications is warranted.

A sense of self-worth may contribute to better health. Patients should be encouraged to remain productive, engage in leisure activities, and remain or become involved with other people (see also Social Issues in Older Adults Introduction to Social Issues in Older Adults Social issues influence an older person’s risk and experience of illness as well as a health care professional's ability to deliver timely and appropriate care. A social history helps members... read more ). These actions can enhance self-worth. Suggesting activities that confirm a sense of social connectedness, such as obtaining a pet, contributing to household chores, or doing volunteer work, may help prevent psychosocial problems (and physical disability).

View Patient Education
NOTE: This is the Professional Version. CONSUMERS: View Consumer Version
quiz link

Test your knowledge

Take a Quiz!