Depression impacts quality of life at all life stages, but little is known about the factors related to depression in the last year of life. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that 59.3% of individuals had depression in the last month before death.
In the interview-based study that included 3,274 individuals who died by the end of the study, depression symptoms increased gradually from 12 to 4 months before death and then escalated from 4 to 1 months before death. Women, younger adults, and non-white adults all had higher rates of depressive symptoms. Individuals with cancer reported escalating rates of depressive symptoms at the very end of life, while individuals with lung disease and impairments in activities of daily living demonstrated persistently high rates throughout the year before death.