This article is organized in seven sections. The first section presents a review of the existing epidemiologic data on the prevalence of depressive illness in different, elderly US populations (community residents versus the medically ill). Section two describes the US elderly population. Section three describes three presentations of depression in the elderly. Section four addresses the outcome of depressive disorder untreated or partially treated. In section five the data on suicide in the elderly is reviewed. An overview of specific considerations for the psychopharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatment of depression is presented in section six. Section seven provides a summary of the major points of the article.