Mental health and aging in the 2020s – DocWire News

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Am Psychol. 2021 Dec 30. doi: 10.1037/amp0000873. Online ahead of print.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought age bias and the unmet mental health needs of older adults into bold relief. Even before the pandemic, the psychological needs of older adults often went unaddressed, or were poorly addressed by a system that lacks an adequate number of providers and insufficiently integrates geropsychological services across care settings. In the decade ahead, the number of older adults in the United States will continue to grow, with the potential for expanded demand and contracted service options. Life changes that typically occur with aging will interact with societal upheavals (pandemic, civil unrest, economic inequality) to exacerbate the mental health needs in the current cohort of older adults and the “near old.” At the same time, ageism, inequitable access, and financial and policy constraints may limit health care access. Following a review of current demographic and epidemiological data, we describe several trends that will affect the prevalence of mental health issues among older adults and how mental health care is delivered, and we discuss their implications for education, research, and practice. For both personal and professional reasons, all psychologists can benefit from understanding these trends in aging. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).

PMID:34968089 | DOI:10.1037/amp0000873

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