David Steffens, M.D., M.H.S.
President, American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
Just as a family with a child suffering from depression, anxiety, or any other illness would want a clinician who specializes in helping children, older adults deserve care from clinicians trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating older patients.
The mental health needs of the elderly differ from the rest of the population.
In general, older adults have more medical illnesses than younger people and may have cognitive problems that can worsen with depression and other health issues. Older individuals often suffer more losses—such as the loss of a spouse, friends, or independence—and these losses can lead to depression. Older adults may also be reluctant to discuss mental health issues, particularly concerns about memory and Alzheimer’s disease.