The bottom line of a new survey conducted by the John A. Hartford Foundation is this: countless seniors are at risk for significant health issues as a result of poor or inadequate treatment of mental health disorders. Survey results were shared in this recent post from McKnight’s Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living.
The numbers are quite startling. Consider these highlights from the article:
- 46% of seniors in a treatment group did not get essential follow-up services or support from their providers.
- Between 22 and 40 percent of those in the treatment group were not told about the side effects or duration of treatment.
- Over 20 percent of participants did not know depression can increase the risk of a heart attack by a third and double the risk of dementia.
- Depression is not a normal part of aging, as 25% of survey participants had once believed.
How many seniors are actually affected by mental health issues? You may be surprised by the prevalence: the study reports a formidable nearly one in five.
Clearly, there is an urgent need for providers here: for physicians treating seniors, for family caregivers, for direct care workers in assisted living and skilled nursing facilities, for home care professionals. Anyone working with seniors in a health care capacity should educate themselves on mental health disorders and how best to care for the individuals affected.
Read the full report, entitled “Silver and Blue: The Unfinished Business of Mental Health Care for Older Adults” here.