Date of Conferral







Monica Sutton


The population structure of the United States is changing; the older age group is increasing in size relative to the younger generation. The trend is expected to continue, especially starting in 2020, when the baby boomer population---estimated at 80 million---will be reaching their 65 th birthday, a time associated with increasing health complications, including depression and dementia. The study employed a holistic paradigm as the conceptual framework to examine the association between depression and dementia in older adults, and generated a grounded theory to illuminate the relationship between depression and dementia. This theory was then used to assess the efficacy of stimulation, a nurturing environment, and treatment provided by an adult day health care (ADHC) in ameliorating the symptoms and progression of both dementia and depression. The sample consisted of 60 clients from a California ADHC center who were diagnosed with depression and dementia and who had received at least 6 months of services at the center. Paired t tests tested the validity of the hypotheses on depression among older adults and its correlation with their cognitive abilities. The results of paired t tests indicated a significant reduction in the client's level of depression between the time of their admission and the time of their reassessment 6 months later. This study can provide data for the larger social change discussion as to what resources should be allocated to meet the quickly escalating health, economic, and humanitarian pressures of the baby boom cohort.