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Nurs Clin North Am. 2010 Dec;45(4):627-34, vii. doi: 10.1016/j.cnur.2010.06.005.

Policy issues in mental health among the elderly.

Author information

  • School of Nursing, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA. Kmrobi01@louisville.edu


Americans are living longer than ever before in history. With age comes an increased risk for chronic mental health disorders. About 1 in 8 baby boomers is expected to be diagnosed with Alzheimer disease, which will amount to some ten million members of this age cohort. The prevalence of mental health disorders among the elderly is often unrecognized. One in four older adults lives with depression, anxiety disorders, or other significant psychiatric disorders. Mental health disorders are frequently comorbid in older adults, occurring with a number of common chronic illnesses such as in diabetes, cardiac disease, and arthritis. The public is becoming more aware of the aging of the population and the difficulties that are exacerbated by unmet services and limited access to mental health services. This article describes policy issues related to chronic mental health disorders and the older population. Mental health parity, a recent policy issue occurring at the national level, is discussed first followed by workforce issues specific to the discipline of nursing.

Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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