Current state of research on psychotherapy for home-living vulnerable older adults with depression
Z Gerontol Geriatr
Older home-living vulnerable adults often suffer from chronic conditions accompanied by restrictions in mobility, social participation and reduced independence. Among this rapidly growing population depression is a common and serious health problem; however, there are shortcomings in the diagnosis of depression and provision of psychotherapy. Despite growing evidence in treating depression among the group of nursing home residents or the "young-old", there is a research gap regarding needs-oriented healthcare strategies for very old, frail or care-dependent older adults living at home. The present article provides an overview of different outpatient psychotherapeutic treatment approaches for vulnerable older adults with depression, in particular adaptations tailored to those who are homebound or in need of care. Based on the current state of research, this article derives recommendations for psychotherapy in this special setting to consider the physical and psychosocial resources of this patient group. Furthermore, healthcare strategies for embedding psychotherapy in collaborative, telehealth or home-delivered healthcare services are described and their applicability as psychosocial support for older adults during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is discussed. Psychotherapy is an efficacious treatment for depression in home-living vulnerable older adults. Further implementing telehealth or home delivered settings, individually tailored psychotherapeutic approaches as well as collaborative and stepped care approaches can increase utilization and medical supply of this patient group. More research and innovative programs are needed to improve access to and provision of psychotherapeutic care as well as their social inclusion.