While it may be common, it\u2019s important to know that depression is not a normal part of aging.\nMore than 6.5 million Americans over age 65 experience late-life depression\u00a0that can last for months and even years. But many older adults and their caretakers don\u2019t seek treatment because they think depression is inevitable as we age. Its symptoms \u2014 irritability, social isolation, poor sleep, loss of appetite, and memory loss \u2014 also are easily mistaken as signs of other illnesses.\n\u201cDepression erodes our quality of life, our productivity, and our ability to have fulfilling relationships,\u201d explains Charles Reynolds III, MD, director, Aging Institute of UPMC Senior Services and the University of Pittsburgh, UPMC Endowed Professor of Geriatric Psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC, and director of the Center of Excellence in Late Life Depression Prevention and Treatment Research at the University of Pittsburgh. The center is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).\n\u201cUntreated, late-life depression puts older adults at risk for significant declines in their mental and physical health. It can be so debilitating that it threatens their ability to live independently,\u201d he notes. \u201cBut the right professional help and medications can be life changing for these individuals.\u201d\nA Wide Range of Support\nThe center offers expertise in the detection, prevention, and treatment of depression, stress, complicated bereavement, or bipolar disorders in older adults. Through its research focus, all visits and medications are provided at no cost.\nIts services include:\n\nPreventive services, evaluation, and consultation\nTreatment through therapy and\/or medication\nParticipation in innovative research studies\nEducational support\nReferrals for assistance\n\n\u00a0One of the Nation\u2019s Leading Programs of its Kind\nThe Center of Excellence in Late Life Depression Prevention and Treatment Research is located in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh at both the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health and Western Psychiatric. It is one of only three centers of excellence in geriatric psychiatry funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the John A. Hartford Foundation.\nResearch studies benefit patients today and tomorrow\nAmong the center\u2019s current research studies are efforts to improve sleep patterns, lower stress levels, promote brain health, and reduce pain as a way of preventing depression among adults age 60 and older. These include:\n\nRECALL: A study about reducing stress among seniors experiencing mild memory, language, or judgment loss\nRAPID: A study for adults with osteoarthritis knee pain\nAddressing Pain and Depression Together (ADAPT): A study for adults living with both depression and back pain\nHealing Emotions After Loss (HEAL): A study for adults ages 18 to 95 who are experiencing prolonged or acute grief lasting six months or more over the loss of a loved one\n\nTo learn more about the center\u2019s services or to participate in one of its current research programs, call 412-246-6006 or visit the Late Life Depression Prevention and Treatment Center website.