Recommendations for treating depression in community-based older adults. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: To present recommendations for community-based treatment of late-life depression to public health and aging networks. METHODS: An expert panel of mental health and public health researchers and community-based practitioners in aging was convened in April 2006 to form consensus-based recommendations. When making recommendations, panelists considered feasibility and appropriateness for community-based delivery, as well as strength of evidence on program effectiveness from a systematic literature review of articles published through 2005. RESULTS: The expert panel strongly recommended depression care management-modeled interventions delivered at home or at primary care clinics. The panel recommended individual cognitive behavioral therapy. Interventions not recommended as primary treatments for late-life depression included education and skills training, comprehensive geriatric health evaluation programs, exercise, and physical rehabilitation/occupational therapy. There was insufficient evidence for making recommendations for several intervention categories, including group psychotherapy and psychotherapies other than cognitive behavioral therapy. CONCLUSIONS: This interdisciplinary expert panel determined that recommended interventions should be disseminated throughout the public health and aging networks, while acknowledging the challenges and obstacles involved. Interventions that were not recommended or had insufficient evidence often did not treat depression primarily and/or did not include a clinically depressed sample while attempting to establish efficacy. These interventions may provide other benefits, but should not be presumed to effectively treat depression by themselves. Panelists also identified primary prevention of depression as a much under-studied area. These findings should aid individual clinicians as well as public health decision makers in the delivery of population-based mental health services in diverse community settings.

published proceedings

  • Am J Prev Med

altmetric score

  • 12

author list (cited authors)

  • Steinman, L. E., Frederick, J. T., Prohaska, T., Satariano, W. A., Dornberg-Lee, S., Fisher, R., ... Late Life Depression Special Interest Project (SIP) Panelists.

citation count

  • 73

complete list of authors

  • Steinman, Lesley E||Frederick, John T||Prohaska, Thomas||Satariano, William A||Dornberg-Lee, Sharon||Fisher, Rita||Graub, Pearl Beth||Leith, Katherine||Presby, Kay||Sharkey, Joseph||Snyder, Susan||Turner, David||Wilson, Nancy||Yagoda, Lisa||Unutzer, Jurgen||Snowden, Mark

publication date

  • September 2007