WelcomeAbout UsEducationNews Archive/EventsResearchResources

Tell us what you think!
Tell us what you think!

Depression Management Series

Approximately 18.8 million Americans are affected by depressive disorders. By the year 2020 depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease. In the older adult population depression is associated with suicide. Depression goes unrecognized and untreated. Up to 75 percent of older adults who die from suicide have visited a physician within one month before their death. Regrettably, healthcare professionals often mistake depression as a normal reaction to other illnesses or social hardships. Recognition and treatment of depression is vital in improving recovery and reducing its affect on other medical conditions. A collaborative approach to treating depression for healthcare professionals should include: understanding the illness, how it impacts the older adult and the cultural and social factors surrounding this illness. Additionally, healthcare professionals should be familiar with depression screening tools and treatment options. Utilizing this approach will place the older adult on the road to recovery and improve their ability to function normally.

This series of learning modules will cover topics such as: depression prevalence and risk factors; pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic treatment approaches; caregiving and depression; cultural issues; and insurance access.

Module 5: Caregivers and Family Support in Managing Depression in the Older Adult


Cecilia Borden, EdD,MSN, RN
Tarae Waddell-Terry, MS

Christine Arenson, MD, Charles Brown, MSW, LCSW, Nancy L. Chernett, MPH,
Laura N. Gitlin, PhD, Leigh Ann Hewston, PT, MEd, Christine Hsieh, MD,
Barry W. Rovner , MD, Tracey Vause-Earland, MS, OTR/L

The Eastern Pennsylvania-Delaware Geriatric Education Center (EPaD GEC) is funded by the Department of Human and Health Services Grant #D31HP08834


Family caregiving involves providing unpaid care to a physically or cognitively impaired older family member, friend, or partner outside the realm of usual family support. (Curry, L. 2006. Educational needs of employed family caregivers of older adults: evaluation of a workplace project. Geriatric Nursing, 27(3), 166-173.)

Caregivers are normally the first individuals who witness the first signs of depression in the older adult. However, there are barriers and other factors that impact the caregiver’s ability to adequately recognize these symptoms. With that said it is vital the caregiver be aware of the warning signs of depression, so that they can seek appropriate medical assistance for this debilitating condition.

This module examines the older adult and his/her caregiver's role in recognizing depression, potential risk factors, barriers to identifying depression and tips on how to work through depression.

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this module, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify the needs of the caregiver of a depressed older adult.
  • State impact of caregiving of the depressed older adult.
  • Discuss complications of untreated depression in the older adult.
  • Identify caregiver barriers in recognizing depression.
  • Relate helpful tips for the caregiver.
Estimated time for completion: 30 minutes

Since this module will take approximately 30 minutes to complete, it is designed to track your progress allowing you to complete the module in more than one sitting. This progress tracking feature requires that you use the same computer each time you return to work on the module.

Technical Requirements and Notes:

This learning module uses Adobe Flash media and may require you to add a browser "plug-in" in order to display properly. Most computers already have this free plug-in installed. But, if yours does not, it is very easy to download and install. Try the module first because the software is "smart" enough to detect the Flash player. If the module doesn't begin, you will be automatically prompted to download the plug-in.

The module contains links to external websites which will open in a new browser window. Your browser's back button will not return to the module, so these new windows should be closed.

TJU/H Campus Key users, please login using the following:
    Campus Key: 


All other users, please login using the following:
    WEB-ID (lastname + last four digits of your SS#, i.e. smith1234):