Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mental health needs of senior citizens are greatly neglected


Now, a growing number of experts are calling for integrating mental health professionals into all levels of communities for the rising population of aging Americans, from nursing homes to assisted-living centers.

Gary Kennedy, the director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, says psychological care is “equally if not more important than” medical care for this group. “Health policy continues to lag behind the reality that these are now mental health facilities,” Dr. Kennedy said of communities for the elderly.

While Alzheimer’s receives the lion’s share of public attention, garden-variety depression, anxiety and sleep disorders also accompany old age. Particularly for late-life depression, Dr. Agronin points to data assembled by the psychiatry department at the University of California, San Francisco, supporting behavioral and group therapy, treatment rarely tried with patients from generations typically considered averse to discussing such issues.

But treatment that focuses on talking, rather than on medical procedures, has a lower Medicare reimbursement rate. The economic difficulties may explain why more doctors have not entered the time-intensive field.


  1. Does Alzheimer's fall under senior mental health or is it physical? I need to take my grandpa to a health center and I am not sure if he falls under physical or mental. I'll just bring him to a center and see what they say.

  2. I think that this is true. It is something that is frequently overlooked. I think that mental health, especially for seniors is very important. It's god to always keep this in mind and offer service to help those in need.
    Gary Puntman |

  3. Wow, I had no idea any of this was happening. It makes sense they focus on Alzheimer's, sense other things come with that disease. I find this interesting thanks for sharing.


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