PREVALENCE AND DETERMINANTS OF DEPRESSION AMONG RURAL ELDERLY By Dr. S. Gunesekaran[1] and Dr. A. Thomas William[2]

Abstract

The present study based on a sample of 900 elderly selected from the rural areas of three different districts of Tamil Nadu indicates a high prevalence of depression among elderly. The depression status of elderly is measured using Geriatric Depression Scale consisting of 30 items in which the respondents are asked to respond in reference to how they felt over the past one week. The results of the study show that more than half of the elderly (51 percent) aged 60 years and above are severely depressed 23.2 percent are having mild depression and just 25.8 percent are normal. The major causes of depression are poor intake of food resulting in poor nutritional status, and poor life style behaviour mostly with sedentary type of activities. The study findings suggest the need for day care centres in villages with entertainment facilities and nutrition supplementation.  Counselling through village health nurse would be of more help to elderly in reducing depression and improving their mental status.

Key words: Geriatric Depression, Rural Elderly, Life Style, Physical Mobility, Nutritional Status

[1]   Prof. & Head, Dept. of Applied Research, Gandhigram University

[2]   Associate Professor & UGC – Post Doctoral Awardee, Dept. of Applied Research Gandhigram University

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