Increase in Mentally Ill Seniors Likely
Researchers at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu found that mental illnesses will affect 20% of the U.S. population by 2030. Americans are living longer with dementia and psychiatric illnesses that can lead to problematic behavior, such as aggression, delusions and wandering.
The researchers studied emergency room records and noticed an overall increase in visits by elderly people with mental illnesses in recent years. They saw a 30% jump between 2008 and 2009. Elders were often brought to the ED by exhausted family caregivers or nursing home workers who weren’t equipped to handle violence and other severe symptoms. Investigators also observed an increase in 911 calls from caregivers.
Experts say more geriatric psychiatrists will be needed in the future to handle these problems.
“We need to have the resources to help this population and help the caregivers of this population who are stuck in the middle,” said Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., chairman of Council of Communications for the APA, told the Los Angeles Times.
That is true and we also need more young people wanting to go into medical school and specialize in geriatric medicine. I can tell you firsthand that it benefits our elders. My mom happens to be in a rehab facility currently. It is her second. The first place she went the medical director was a general practitioner. The second place she went the medical director was a geriatric physician.
He has single handily saved her life through his interventions. Seek out a geriatric physician for your loved one.