It is well documented that elderly persons are the largest consumers of many health and social services. Consequently it is of interest to identify characteristics of users of those services. The purpose of this study is to examine whether depressive symptoms among men and women at age 75 are an independent determinant of incident hospitalization and use of home help 5 years later. Four hundred and ten men and women participated in a prospective study in Glostrup, Denmark, when they were 75 and 80 years old. Depressive symptoms were evaluated by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D Scale). Use of health and social services was measured by asking the participants whether they had been hospitalized or used home help during the year before follow-up. Among women, depressive symptoms at age 75 were associated with subsequent use of home help at age 80 (odds ratio (OR) = 2.5; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2-5.0) and marginally associated with subsequent hospitalization (OR = 1.8; 95% CI: 0.96-3.5). None of these results were seen in men. Preventive services should take into account depressive symptoms among elderly women.
Keywords: Activities of Daily Living; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Cohort Studies; Denmark; Depression; Female; Follow-Up Studies; Geriatric Assessment; Health Services Needs and Demand; Home Care Services; Hospitalization; Humans; Male; Predictive Value of Tests; Prospective Studies