Growing old is an inevitable process. In the last decade, it has been noticed that people around the world are maturing faster than ever. This is evident from the World Health Organization (WHO), figures predicting a potential rise in the global population aged above 60 years, from 12 percent to 22 percent between 2015 and 2050. For the United States, a Population Reference Bureau report revealed a vast chunk of population falling in the age group 52-70 years in 2016. Evaluation of demographic details suggested that the number of Americans aged 65 years and above would more than double from 46 million to 98 million by 2060. This points to greater need for mental and behavioral services in the country for its rising aged population.
Behavioral and neurological health conditions are common among America’s elderly. Studies have revealed how the number of mental health institutions do not commensurate with the rising number of old people in need of help. The results are more distressing among people belonging to underserved communities or those living in abject poverty.
As America comes to terms with its rising aged population, there is an urgent need of psychologists to help those looking for medical help to get rid of their mental health disorders. Experts have constantly envisaged the need for detailed research in geropsychology, a field dedicated to study of disorders common in the elderly and provision of services aimed at adequate mental health diagnosis of the old. Increasing discovery of the various neurological problems and their potential reasons have compelled physicians to design incisive psychological interventions that help address conditions that most aged people face.
People across the U.S. observe the “National Senior Citizens Day” on August 21 each year to recognize the contributions made by senior citizens. Voluntary community workers, health service providers and those advocating in favor of sound health (physical and mental) stress on greater need to pay attention to distressing health conditions faced by seniors.
Impediments to treatment for America’s aged population
As America grapples to make available necessary recovery options for its old and ailing population, the expenses incurred in their treatment call for immediate action. It becomes more important in the light of various studies indicating that mental health services for the older adults are far less than for their younger and middle-aged counterparts. Co-occurring physical ailments also restrict the old to seek and accept services in primary care settings as opposed to specialized mental health care settings.
Experts cite various reasons as to why aged Americans are not able to make complete use of the country’s mental health services. These reasons may include insufficient insurance coverage, lack of trained geriatric mental health providers, insufficient coordination levels among primary care providers and those involved in serving the mentally ill and aging patients, fear of backlash surrounding mental health and its treatment, among others.
Understanding mental health by numbers
Mental illnesses are prevalent in the U.S. with millions showing signs of psychiatric conditions every year. Details published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the report titled “The State of Aging and Health in America 2013” suggest that the number and proportion of older adults has seen an unprecedented growth in the history of the country. In addition, the data reveals how the combined effect of the two factors longer life spans and aging baby boomers will result in older adults constituting roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2030.
Research shows that untreated psychiatric disorders are one of the leading causes of deaths among Americans above 60 years of age. Majority of these people exhibit cognitive impairment with personality disorders worsening due to chronic health problems. While many of them succumb to the chronic effects of emotional disorders, others die owing to the comorbidity of multiple mental illnesses. Besides, some fall prey to the twin demons of substance use disorders and mental illnesses as the old look upon illicit drugs as an effective remedy to beat the pain and anguish linked to emotional health problems.
Seeking treatment for mental disorders
Old age may make people susceptible to emotional disorders such as depression, schizophrenia and anxiety, among others. Prior researches have emphasized how untreated depression may cause the affected to suffer from cardiovascular diseases. In addition, the presence of depressive symptoms may often complicate treatment of other critical illnesses.
Sovereign Health, one of the leading mental health treatment providers in the U.S., provides treatment for all kinds of cognitive illnesses. Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California, offers a range of customized treatment options tailored to treat patients according to their specific needs. Our residential mental health treatment facilities in California are among the best in the nation. Call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with one of our representatives to know about the most effective recovery programs to treat such illnesses at the earliest.