Alzheimer's, Dementia & Mental Health
Risk for Senior Citizens of Depression and Dementia
Increases After Hospitalization
Dementia and depression may impair ability to care
for themselves, increasing their risk for hospitalization and
March 5, 2014 - People over age 65 who have been
hospitalized are at significantly greater risk for dementia or
depression, finds a new study in
“There appears to be a bidirectional relationship
between adverse mental health and bad medical outcomes,” said lead study
author Dimitry Davydow, M.D., a psychiatrist at the University of
Among older people, dementia and depression appears
to increase the risk of hospitalization, which might lead to further
cognitive decline or depression and subsequent risk for
re-hospitalization, perpetuating a vicious cycle, Davydow explained.
Davydow and colleagues from the University of
Michigan analyzed data from the National Health and Aging Trends Study,
a nationally representative sample of nearly 7200 community-dwelling
adults ages 65 years and older. They found that an estimated 3.1 million
older Americans - 1 in 12 - may have dementia while approximately 5.3
million - 1 in 7 - may have depression.
Another 5 million may have milder cognitive
impairment, Davydow added.
The researchers also found that those who were
hospitalized for a medical or surgical condition in the previous year
had about a 40 percent greater risk of dementia, and a 60 percent
greater risk of depression.
“You’re talking about 13 million Americans who are
potentially at risk—they’re more likely to have chronic medical problems
and because of their depression and/or cognitive impairment, are less
able to adequately care for themselves, more likely to be hospitalized
and more likely to have bad outcomes after their hospitalization,”
“The 3 Ds—dementia, depression, and delirium—are
thought to both lengthen the stay of older patients who are already
hospitalized and contribute to re-hospitalization,” commented David
Steffens, MD, president of the American Association for Geriatric
Psychiatry. Steffens also said that hospitalizations and
re-hospitalizations in older adults with cognitive deficits and
depression are also a huge financial strain on healthcare systems,
Both Davydow and Steffens agreed that screening for
these conditions and providing interventions for patients and their
caregivers has the potential to not only improve quality of care but
reduce costs as well. “That kind of approach is good for the patient and
good for society,” said Steffens.
Source: Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing
Research Source:General Hospital Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed
research journal published bimonthly by Elsevier Inc.
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