There is an increasing need for geriatric mental health services.
Life expectancy from birth has increased dramatically in the United States, from 49 years in 1900 to 76.5 years at present. This massive shift in population demographics has seen a corresponding growth in need for mental health services for the elderly. At least 12 percent of older adults in the community have diagnosable mental disorders, and 30 to 50 percent of elderly individuals in medical settings have mental disorders.
The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple by the year 2040. Older adults experience the same broad spectrum of psychiatric problems as younger individuals, however there are some conditions which are of particular importance because of their increased frequency among older populations including dementia, depression and anxiety which may occur for the first time later in life, as well as serious mental illnesses which are affected by the aging process.