Depression in Older Adults: The Right to Feel Better
Produced by Duke University; 1997; $185 (purchase); $55 (rent)
Chicago, IL: Terra Nova Films
30 minutes; Videotape
This VHS videotape on depression in older adults comes highly recommended for gerontological practitioners and educators. It is comprehensive in scope, respects the viewpoints of older adults who suffer from depression, and accurately portrays the complex nature of depression in later life. Featuring noted geropsychiatrist and epidemiologist, Dan G. Blazer, MD, PhD, along with Lisa Gwyther, MSW, and consulting psychiatrist David Susco, MD, from Duke University Medical Center, the videotape is repleat with scenes of older adults in community as well as long-term care settings who candidly discuss their illness and its impact on their Uves.
Both the prevalence and dimensions of causation of depression are set forth early in the videotape, including biological, psychological, social, and existential etiologies. A balanced view of treatment options, including psychotherapy, drug therapy, and electroconvulsive therapy, as well as the value of activity and exercise programs, is highlighted. A particularly useful segment of the videotape is devoted to the discussion of risk factors for suicide. Equally important are the three main take-home messages: 1) older adults have the right to feel better; 2) depression is highly treatable; and 3) emotional suffering is just as bad as physical suffering. The videotape concludes with a discussion of public policy efforts, including a plea for continued federal support for research dedicated to better understanding and treatment of depression in later life, featuring testimony of 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace before the Senate Subcommittee on Aging.
The videotape is interesting and well-organized, with accurate information clearly conveyed through effective use of graphics, commentaries by experts in the field, and perhaps most important by the compelling personal stories of older adults who have suffered from depression themselves. Gerontological nurses in a variety of practice and academic settings will find this videotape of great value in a heightening awareness of the common yet often untreated problem of depression in later life.
Marianne Smith, MS, RN
Geropsychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist
Abbe, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa