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Student’s survey finds that 40 per cent of the elderly are depressed

A survey conducted by a Master’s student among Maltese elderly people aged over 75 living in the community found that 40.3 per cent were depressed; at the same time, 10.2 per cent had marginal ties with members of their family and 53.6 per cent had marginal friendship ties. It also found that 90.6 per cent took part in religious activi­ties, 10.9 per cent in voluntary work, 17.1 per cent in social or sports clubs, 12.1 per cent in political or community activities and 1.4 per cent in educational courses.

The survey was conducted by Caroline Galdes for her dissertation as part of a Master of Science in Public Health Medicine that was awarded to her by the University of Malta.

Galdes observed that elderly people who experienced adequate social support tended to display less depressive symptoms and that those who participated in social activities tended to experience adequate social support.

She concluded that these linkages provided the basis for psychosocial interventions to help elderly people avoid experiencing depression. She added that all people can offer social support for elderly relatives, neighbours and friends and thus they have the potential to improve the latter’s quality of life and well-being.

Galdes’s studies were funded by the Endeavour Scholarships Scheme.

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