Late-Life Depression: Detection, Risk Reduction, and Somatic Intervention


Address correspondence to Lisa Delano-Wood, VA San Diego Healthcare System, 116B, 3350 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego, CA 92161. E-mail:


In light of recent statistics suggesting that geriatric depression is highly prevalent, complicates and promotes medical illness, and strongly impacts quality of life, this paper explores numerous aspects of depression in late life, including proper detection and treatment barriers, risk reduction, and somatic intervention. Additionally, the relationship between depression and morbidity is highlighted given that the prevalence of depressive symptoms increases in older adults with medical disorders and greatly impacts outcome. Finally, empirically supported somatic treatments and their side effects are discussed with emphasis on the efficacy and effectiveness of pharmacotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), exercise, and phototherapy (bright light therapy).