Caring for seniors includes concentrating on both their physical and emotional health. The mental health of older patients is, unfortunately, poorly examined and treated. There are several barriers to recovery, including the stigma associated with mental conditions that may prevent individuals from seeking the help they may need.
At least one mental health disorder is faced by one in four older adults in the United States, and with factors like the pandemic, that number may easily double. Depression is the most common mental health condition for seniors, but within this group, anxiety is also very prevalent.
The care cost for people dealing with a mental illness is high. Older patients with depression, for example, use up to fifty percent or more treatment services versus non-depressed seniors and the hospital costs are also higher, as one might expect.
Not many older people choose to undergo treatment, given the high prevalence of mental health problems. Seniors are much less likely than younger adults to seek mental health care, and older people dealing with issues regarding their mental health frequently go without receiving the necessary services. There are numerous reasons for this care deficit.
It is important to devote enough time and resources to fully address the mental health problems of patients and glean a larger understanding of their needs and where they may be. Primary care services are ripe with opportunities for better healthcare-related to patients and mental health.
By employing a value-based approach, healthcare professionals can prioritize and potentially improve mental and physical health. Doctors can spend more than half an hour with a patient if it’s required, doubling the normal doctor appointment. This allows primary care physicians to develop authentic patient relationships and provide in-depth experiences that help understand problems of mental health. Other important elements for giving patients the support they need include training medical team members to understand signs of mental health issues, and utilizing psychological screeners.