Older adults are at increased risk for mental health conditions and mood disorders. The stigma surrounding such conditions can make older adults repress or hide symptoms. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to promote the mental health of older adults. For instance, a recent study of over 12,000 older Americans revealed that 6.8% had a mental disorder, 11.4% had anxiety, and 3.8% met the criteria for substance use disorder.
While some people might dismiss the idea of aging as a grumpy process, older adults often have healthy and active lifestyles. While the perception of senior citizens is often that they’re sad, many of them are actually very happy. Aging doesn’t mean being sad, but it doesn’t mean that we’ll feel more isolated or lonely. Even if we’re not afflicted by a mental illness, older adults can still experience periods of depression and loneliness. If left untreated, such feelings can lead to more severe conditions. Unfortunately, mental health in older adults is often underfunded, and healthcare systems don’t offer adequate coverage to help these older citizens.
Research has shown that older adults who live an active lifestyle experience better mental health. Physical activity is linked to better cognitive function, improved wellbeing, and decreased depressive symptoms. In addition, a supportive community is also a key factor in older adults’ quality of life. With that in mind, it is crucial to consider ways to provide services to older adults with mental health issues.
The impact of older adults’ mental health is far reaching and can lead to serious consequences. These issues often affect the quality of life, social relationships, and health care utilization. In addition to these consequences, older adults who suffer from mental health problems are also at greater risk of developing suicide. In addition, a large proportion of these older adults also face an increased risk of death.
A major challenge for geriatric psychiatrists is the interdisciplinary collaboration necessary to provide quality mental health care. However, the field is slowly catching up with the rest of medicine. There are now 1,382 board-certified geriatric psychiatrists practicing in the United States, which is about the same as 4% of licensed psychologists.
While many studies have found links between time-use and mental health, there are a few gaps. For example, many of these studies used a cross-sectional design. Others used longitudinal designs. Some used a secondary analysis of the data. The majority used diary records to collect time-use data. The most common outcome was depression. However, two studies failed to assess the connection between time-use and mental health.
The majority of studies examined older adults in the general community. However, a few were specific. For example, one study involved older women who lost their spouse. Another involved older drivers. Two included a cross-section of age groups. The sample sizes of both types of studies varied widely. Overall, the sample size of most studies ranged between 100 and 800. Interestingly, three studies included samples that were smaller than one hundred.