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Depression among older adults in Malaysian daycare centres

02 February 2020
Volume 25 · Issue 2


With the older population increasing worldwide, depressive disorder in this cohort is a serious public health problem that contributes to increased healthcare costs and mortality. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of depression among older adults in Malaysia who attended a daycare centre and to identify the relationship between depression and demographic factors. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 159 older adults recruited following screening for mental capacity. The Malay Geriatric Depression Scale questionnaire was distributed among the participants to obtain descriptive data on the symptoms of depression. Some 59.1% of the participants experienced depression. The most common factors associated with depression were being divorced, low education levels and low income. The findings indicate the need to revise and re-evaluate the activities and programmes in daycare centres for older adults in order to objectively cater to their physical and emotional needs.

Emerging healthcare technologies have resulted in an overall reduction in mortality, because of which the ageing population has increased. However, from the perspective of older adults, ageing remains a challenging and distressing process. Generally, in the period after retirement, people experience loneliness, for example, due to loss of a spouse, isolation, health problems and financial troubles, all of which could lead to depression. The perceptions of and adaptations to these situations will determine the emotional outcomes for the person. Those who can better accept failure, frustration and adverse events live a happier life than those who are afraid and anxious in such circumstances (Beard et al, 2016).

Geriatric depression refers to a disorder in mental and emotional status in an older person. Since depression is among the leading causes of disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), it has become a major public health concern worldwide. Depression contributes to increased healthcare costs and mortality (Zivin et al, 2013). It is estimated that 25–45% of adults aged 65 years and above experience a certain level of depression (Mirkena et al, 2018).

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