Depressive Symptoms in Recipients of Home- and Community-Based Services in the United States: Are Older Adults Receiving the Care They Need?

AbstractObjective To understand unmet depression needs of older adults, the current study investigates depressive symptoms, psychiatric treatment, and home- and community-based service (HCBS) use in a nationally representative sample of older adults in the U.S. Methods Participants included 5,582 adults aged 60 and over from the 2010-2012 waves of the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study (HRS). Weighted bivariate analyses were used to examine the frequency of depressive symptoms (CES-D) and psychiatric treatment among HCBS recipients compared to non-HCBS recipients. Weighted logistic regression models were used to evaluate the effect of depressive symptoms on HCBS use. Results HCBS recipients had a higher frequency of depressive symptoms compared to non-recipients (27.5% vs 10.4%). In particular, transportation service recipients had the highest frequency of depressive symptoms (37.5%). HCBS recipients with depressive symptoms were no more likely than non-recipients to receive psychiatric services. Depressive symptoms were associated with HCBS use, above and beyond sociodemographic and health risk factors. Conclusions Depressive symptoms are more frequent among HCBS recipients compared to non-recipients, however, depressed HCBS recipients are no more likely to receive psychiatric services, suggesting unmet depression needs. HCBS may be a key setting for depression detection and delivery of mental health interventions.