What Is Geriatric Depression Scale?}

What Is Geriatric Depression Scale?


Nelson Berry

Depression affects all types of people, from young to old. However, it may be a lot harder to manage by the seniors. Aging causes decreased mental and physical abilities. Compared to the young adults, they are less capable of dealing the signs and symptoms of depression.

The Geriatric Depression Scale or GDS is used by the geriatric psychiatrists to determine if the person is suffering from depression and to what degree.

How different is it from Beck Depression Inventory?

Both are recognized as depression tests, and they assess the severity of the symptoms of the sufferer. However, GDS is more specific as it is meant for geriatric patients alone. Beck Depression Inventory or BDI is more ideal to the general population. It can be taken even by teens who are at least 13 years old.

GDS is a lot simpler but longer. It is composed of 30 questions, divided into five categories. Every question is answerable by a yes or a no. BDI, on the other hand, consists of 21 questions, with 4 possible responses. The questions are divided into two general categories.

However, both exams used a scoring system to analyze and interpret the results. Each of the answer will be assigned its corresponding score. In GDS a person is considered normal if his or her score is 0 to 9, mildly depressed if it is 10 to 19, and severely depressed if the score ranges between 20 and 30.


Note: There is actually a shorter version of GDS. It has 15 questions. However, the questionnaire is not available in English.

What are the limitations of GDS?

The Geriatric Depression scale should not be the only basis for diagnosing a patients medical condition. All it can do is assess depression and its symptoms. There are still a lot of factors that have to be determined before depression can be officially confirmed. After all, it is possible for a sufferer to have not just depression but also dementia and other medical disorders.

Moreover, the examination can only be given by a professional known as geriatric psychiatrist. He or she specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of seniors who are suffering from mental disorders, such as dementia, anxiety, schizophrenia, and depression.

Why is the test important?

Any person who suffers from depression requires a special kind of attention and care. These two are more significant among the older adults. As mentioned their age may greatly reduce their ability to take care of themselves.

What should I do if my loved one is diagnosed with depression?

The first thing you should do is to search for a geriatric psychiatrist. Fortunately, there are many of them today. You can find them in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and clinics. You can also ask for referral from your own doctor.

Second, you should realize that there is help available. Therapies and medications are just two of your many choices.

It also helps if you remain positive about it. Using affirmations or subliminal messages will alter your negative perceptions to something positive.

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What Is Geriatric Depression Scale? }