Got the “old and sick in the city” blues

If you are old and sick, you are less likely to become depressed if you live in a rural area. That’s what was found by an NTNU survey of 500 patients between 65 and 101 years old who had been admitted to a rural hospital. Only ten per cent of the patients were depressed. This is low compared to similar figures from studies done in densely populated areas. The study compared the risk of depression in different age categories and found clear gender differences: For men, the risk of depression tripled when they were older than 80, while the oldest women suffered the least.

Associate Professor Anne-Sofie Helvik thinks this may be due to an aspect of rural culture: Gender differences in rural areas are often clearer than in urban areas, as in the countryside, more women are more likely to be working at home. This may mean that a woman’s life situation in rural areas changes less dramatically than a man’s as they age.