Aspects of mental health and agingposted 12.12.2014
Fall 2014 Generations addresses the complex issue of mental illness and substance use in older adults. Elders now transitioning from middle to later life are expected to use and misuse psychoactive medications, as well as alcohol and illicit drugs, more than did other generations. Also mood disorders and other serious mental illnesses do not necessarily fade with old age.
As the world’s population of older adults rapidly increases, more and more in this age group will seek mental health care. In Amanda Leggett and Steven Zarit’s article in this issue, we see that prevention—in in the form of psychotherapy, psychosocial interventions and pharmacotherapy—is a promising approach to lower overall disease burden.
Stephen J. Bartels, Renee Pepin, and Lydia E. Gill elucidate the burgeoning issue of mental illness combined with an alarming rise in incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias, which means an urgent need for a trained professional workforce with expertise in treating geriatric mental disorders. But there are fewer than one geriatric psychiatrist for every 6,000 elders with mental health and substance use disorders. Between the ACA, innovative strategies to create a new type of workforce, and technology, we have a chance to redesign healthcare to adequately address physical and mental health.
The Affordable Care Act is part of that redesign in that it includes a variety of provisions to affect the biggest expansion of mental health and substance abuse services in a generation, according to an article by Robyn Golden and Matthew Vail. Provisions include new opportunities to access health insurance, expanded mental health parity, and greater care coordination and integration. These reforms provide an opportunity to bolster a broken mental health system that disproportionately ignores the needs of older adults. But further advocacy is required to ensure that the most promising initiatives of the ACA are fully funded and implemented.
ASA is pleased to offer this latest issue of Generations, which will be reaching ASA members and subscribers in December. Single copies can also be purchased from our website....繼續閱讀