By 2030, it is estimated that adults over the age of 65 will make up one-fifth of the US population. The Institute of Medicine reports that 14-20% of older adults have significant mental health issues. Geriatric psychiatry specializes in the care and support of mental and emotional disorders in the aging population.
Geriatric psychiatrists understand the issues facing older adults today, with an expert ability to differentiate the normal and expected changes associated with aging with more significant mental and cognitive issues. These specialists understand the different types of mental health problems that can be an effect of chronic physical illness and how they can change with age. Personality changes are often signs of a mood or cognitive disorder. Regular visits to a geriatric psychiatrist can significantly reduce the risk of costly hospital procedures.
Review prescription and over-the-counter medications, as older adults are more vulnerable to adverse cognitive effects. Geriatric psychiatrists are experts in the complex nature of the aging brain as it relates to brain chemistry and medications, as well as the potential adverse effects that other medications can have on the brain.
Many older people are reluctant to seek help from a psychiatrist. They may be eager to talk about how they are feeling or going through. Caregivers should consult their loved one’s primary care physician if there are concerns about mental and emotional health.
Support is available to help the aging population improve their overall quality of life.
For clients with behavioral health needs, Independence Health & Therapy in Woodstock offers a full range of behavioral health services, administered on an outpatient basis, including a specialization in geriatric psychotherapy.
Independence Health & Therapy: 2028 N. Seminary Ave. Woodstock, IL 60098, 815-338-3590, www.IndependenceHealth.org