WASHINGTON, June 25, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A newly published paper titled "Promoting Wellness in Older Adults
The prevalence of depressive disorders in older adults is expected to more than double by 2050, and of major concern, substance use disorders—including alcohol use disorder—are also on the rise among older adults. These conditions, which are frequently undiagnosed and untreated among older adults, have a detrimental impact on health and contribute to social isolation, institutionalization, and even high suicide rates. There is also an increasingly high burden of mental illnesses and behavioral problems among older adults with dementia.
"The white paper published in this issue of the AJGP represents a broad consensus among scientists, clinicians, consumers, and federal officials about how to promote well-being among the nation's increasingly diverse older adults," said Charles F. Reynolds, III, M.D., AJGP Editor-in-Chief, Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and UPMC Endowed Professor in Geriatric Psychiatry (emeritus), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. "It is extraordinarily timely and important."
The paper was the result of an October 2017 workshop convened in Washington, D.C. by the Alliance for Aging Research and the Sam and Rose Stein Institute for Research on Aging at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. The panel brought together top academic, provider, and public policy experts in the fields of geriatric mental health and patient advocacy, as well as representatives from key federal agencies, to explore the essential mental and behavioral health concerns of older Americans.
Panelists identified three topics as the leading areas of essential mental and behavioral health concerns for older Americans: 1) mental health issues accompanying dementia; 2) depression and suicide; and 3) serious mental illness and substance use disorders. Additionally, experts identified the current knowledge gaps in these areas and proposed solutions for addressing the areas of concern. These recommendations are outlined extensively in the paper. The key takeaways include:
1) Mental health issues accompanying dementia
2) Depression and suicide
3) Serious mental illness and substance use disorders
Lead co-author Dilip V. Jeste, M.D., Director of the Stein Institute, states, "Older adults who suffer from mental illnesses, including substance use disorders and dementia, are among the most disenfranchised groups in healthcare. Their quality of life is diminished and their lives are cut short. This paper provides an initial roadmap to how we can change this paradigm, but it will take a group effort and political will to prioritize the health and well-being of some of our most vulnerable citizens. The research, treatment, and patient advocacy communities are sounding the alarm for this growing crisis."
To tackle the challenges with mental illness and substance use disorders, the paper calls for a need to shift away from hospital and clinic-based treatments to interventions and support in the home and community. Some of the recommendations for home-centered care include:
The other lead co-author Susan Peschin, MHS, president and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research, added, "While there is no one answer for every disease, individualized and person-centered care will have the greatest impact in promoting wellness and longevity. The take-home message is that, while there is still much work to be done, there are many actions that communities, clinicians, and families can take right now to help ensure the latter years of their loved one's lives are spent in happiness, not hopelessness."
For more information about the October 2017 workshop and efforts to promote healthy aging, visit Alliance for Aging Research.
The Alliance for Aging Research is the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discoveries and their application to vastly improve the universal human experience of aging and health. The Alliance was founded in 1986 in Washington, D.C., and has since become a valued advocacy organization and a respected influential voice with policymakers.
Media Contact:Lauren Smith DyerAlliance for Aging ResearchLSmithDyer@agingresearch.org(202) 688-1229
View original content:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nations-healthy-aging-experts-offer-solutions-to-address-suicide-and-rapidly-rising-mental-illness-and-substance-use-disorders-in-older-americans-300671557.html
SOURCE Alliance for Aging Research
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