In Sweden, around 150 000 people over the age of 65 suffer from depression. The prevalence of anxiety in the same age group is usually reported as between 6 and 12 per cent. Despite this, the older population is often a neglected group in both psychiatry research and the care system.

Sweden has an ageing population. Soon every fourth person in Sweden will be over 65. Depression and anxiety disorders are common in all age groups. However, these conditions have received significantly less attention than dementia within research in the older population. Psychiatry research has also neglected the older population. Older people with mental health problems are also a neglected group in the care system, and care varies considerably between different parts of the country. This is despite the fact that depression is more common than dementia among older adults and may lead to many serious consequences.

Psychosocial and pharmacological treatment models have mainly been studied in younger age groups with the results then applied to the older population. Therefore, there is a need for preventative and treatment studies specific to older adults. However, improving knowledge of depression in the general population so that more people with depression can recieve adequate treatment is even more important.

This Research brief gives a brief description of the current state of knowledge within the area.

This publication is also available in a Swedish version. Read or download the Swedish Research brief here.