Background: Mental disorders are among the most prevalent chronic conditions in old age, depression being the most widespread. The aim of this study was to examine the burden and distress reported by carers of elderly patients with depression. Method: Patients aged 60 or over starting outpatient treatment for depression and their relatives were included. Patients were assessed for the severity of depressive symptoms, behaviour and mood disturbance, and abilities of daily living. Relatives were assessed for burden and emotional distress. Results:Eighty-two patients and their relatives were included. Levels of carers' burden were high. Multiple linear regression showed that patients' behaviour and mood disturbance and relatives's emotional distress scores were independently associated with relatives' burden. Conclusions: Levels of burden were similar to those found in studies with carers of elderly people with dementia, indicating that depressive symptoms can be considered an important source of distress for caregivers.