There are many senior citizens aged 60 and older who are in good health physically. But according to the World Health Organization, 15% of adults aged 60 and older will develop a mental illness like a neurological disorder or addiction. It is important to recognize the urgency in helping senior citizens with a mental illness to ensure they spend old age happy and in good spirits. 

Risk Factors

Senior citizens have their own stressors when they reach old age like a loss in capabilities and a decline in functional ability. Senior citizens may experience reduced mobility, chronic pain, and other health problems that require long-term care. This can lead them to experience isolation and depression. Higher rates of depression may lead to developing heart diseases. Senior citizens are also subject to elder abuse physically, verbally, financially, sexually, abandonment, neglect, etc. Depression towards senior citizens tends to be underdiagnosed and undertreated since they co-occur with other issues senior citizens have. 

Mental Health Treatment for Senior Citizens

First, there needs to be more living conditions and environments that support the well-being of senior citizens with mental illness. This means that senior citizens need to have security and freedom, social support, health and social programs for those who live alone, and programs to prevent and deal with elder abuse. There also needs to be more early interventions towards senior citizens like early diagnosis, identifying or treating physical illnesses, detecting and managing challenging behavior, and providing accurate information to caregivers. Training needs to be given to health providers in working with those who are having mental illnesses in regards to aging. The mental illnesses senior citizens go through on a daily basis can no longer be ignored.

The World Health Organization’s Response

In 2016, the World Health Organization came up with a global strategy to connect the health systems to meet the needs of senior citizens. This means developing and ensuring affordable access to clinical care centered on senior citizens and ensuring a sustainable and appropriately trained health workforce. The Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan for 2013-2020 is for World Health Organization states to promote mental well-being, prevent mental disorders, provide care, enhance recovery, and reduce the mortality, morbidity, and disability for senior citizens with mental disorders. By doing more for the mental health of senior citizens, they will continue to live knowing that there are people out there who care about their well-being.

Located in Georgetown, Texas, Alma Loma is a transformative living center to help those struggling in early recovery to transition out of our Psychiatric and Substance Abuse residential center. Alma Loma believes that addiction is born from an untreated mental illness in which our facility is willing to help you. Our facility offers residency, medication management education, individualized treatment, life skills education, 12-Step support, and more tools to bring patients the confidence to be able to live an independent life. For more information, please call us at 866-457-3843.