Navigation Links
Aging Boomers' Mental Health Woes Will Swamp Health System: Report
Date:7/10/2012

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- The United States faces an unprecedented number of aging baby boomers with mental health or substance use issues, a number so great it could overwhelm the existing health care system, a new report warned Tuesday.

"The report is sufficiently alarmist," said Dr. Gary Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "I think [the report authors] are right."

Kennedy was not involved with the report, The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults: In Whose Hands? It was mandated by Congress and issued by The Institute of Medicine in light of a "silver tsunami" of health care needs expected to accompany a senior population that will reach 72.1 million by 2030.

The "silver tsunami" is the result of simple supply-and-demand forces gone awry, the report authors explained.

Up to 8 million older Americans, or 20 percent of the current senior population, suffer from some form of mental health condition, often depression, at-risk drinking or dementia-related behavioral and psychiatric symptoms, according to the IOM report. (A basic diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease was excluded from the study.)

And 2 million seniors have severe mental illnesses, a number that is "greatly under-appreciated," said Dr. Peter Rabins, one of the authors of the report.

Also, as baby boomers age, studies indicate that their use of illicit drugs will continue.

"The reality is the Woodstock Generation has come of age," said Kennedy. "Their background is with psychedelic drugs, marijuana, recreational drugs, non-narcotics . . . It's a real problem."

Against these growing problems, meanwhile, the number of health providers and other service providers is shrinking in proportion. And that means, according to the report, that "a health care workforce that is not prepared to address either [mental health/substance use] problems or the special needs of an aging population is a compelling public health burden."

"The number of individuals with specialty training in both aging and either mental health or substance use issues is extremely small," said Rabins, who is a psychiatry professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Nor are candidates rushing to fill the pipeline, Kennedy added, probably because of lower pay in geriatric specialties.

Each of these populations -- the elderly, and those with mental health and/or substance use issues -- require special care. But the two in combination represent a special challenge.

Older people metabolize both alcohol and drugs differently from younger people, putting them at risk for overdoses. According to one estimate, almost two-thirds of emergency room visits for adverse drug reactions in 2008 were by elderly people.

Also, elderly people -- particularly those with depression -- may be less able to adhere to complicated medication regimens for mental and physical ailments.

And medications to treat mental health issues may not react well with other medications needed to treat high blood pressure, diabetes and the host of other physical problems that become common as people age.

"The biggest challenge appears to be the fact that these problems rarely occur in isolation. Most [elderly] people who have mental health or substance use problems also have a physical health problem," said Rabin. "That's not true in younger age groups."

The report provides a number of recommendations for solutions, in what basically amounts to an overhaul of the health care system.

Key to handling the future explosion of seniors with mental health issues and/or substance use issues will be organizing a better health care workforce.

"We really need to be training the existing workforce, which interacts with both older people and mentally ill people, to have the skill set of the other group," said Rabins. "People with general mental health training, such as social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists, have very little training in treating the elderly. Those in the aging network have very little experience treating mental illness."

Better provisions, including funding, need to be made for training professionals to care for this population. This includes primary care providers, nurses and nursing-home assistants.

And Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement schedules need to be overhauled to make sure the services this population requires are covered.

The report also said the federal government should coordinate all the efforts that involve these two vulnerable populations.

In addition, Kennedy suggested that partial forgiveness of medical-school loans would "turn around the onward direction of trainees coming into the geriatric field."

More information

Visit the Institute of Medicine for more on the report.

SOURCES: Peter Rabins, M.D., professor of psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore; Gary Kennedy, M.D., director, geriatric psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; July 10, 2012, Institute of Medicine report, The Mental Health and Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults: In Whose Hands?


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Imaging agents predict breast cancer response to endocrine therapy
2. Good news for aging eyes
3. Declining testosterone levels in men not part of normal aging, study finds
4. Device is effective in managing incontinence after surgery
5. Preventing or better managing diabetes may prevent cognitive decline, according to UCSF study
6. Aging Brain Care model receives $7.8 million in CMS innovation funding
7. Mount Sinai is first in New York state to perform new Alzheimers imaging test in clinical setting
8. Study finds that single mothers can reduce stress by playing, engaging with children
9. Through The Use Of Twitter, EverSmoke, A Popular Electronic Cigarettes Company, Is Encouraging Fans to Finish the Hashtag #iPlanToBe With What They Plan to Be
10. Omega-3 Supplements May Not Aid Aging Brain
11. Piramal imaging to present data at Society for Nuclear Medicine Annual Meeting
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Aging Boomers' Mental Health Woes Will Swamp Health System: Report 
(Date:5/5/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... Behavioral Health Population Management Platform, announced today that Enlightened Solutions has joined the ... ability to optimize the care continuum for their patients being treated for substance ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... ... Liposuction specialist Marcia V. Byrd, MD spoke last month at the Fat ... Louis Airport Hotel. This year’s conference was titled “Living with Lipedema and Dealing with ... in treating Lipedema. Dr. Byrd is considered one of the leading physicians in the ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Nepenthe Laboratory Services (NLS), a premier drug monitoring and toxicology ... food item donations for Food for Lane County, and to help support awareness for ... of the assembly was to create an exciting atmosphere for the kids at Riverbend ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Augusta, Kansas (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 , ... ... management for its school nurses. This partnership will enable school health offices to streamline ... located in Butler County, Kansas, just east of Wichita. Augusta public schools serve 2,300 ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... In an effort to ... a public health promotion and research organization, declared May as “National Sunshine Month.” ... other shifts in cultural behavior over the past several decades, Americans spend more ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... DUBLIN , May 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... the addition of the  "Global Acute Ischemic ... 2016"  report to their offering.  ... Global Acute Ischemic Stroke Market ... insights into Acute Ischemic Stroke pipeline products, ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... 3, 2016 BioNovus Innovations LLC and ... Advancing Medical Innovation (IAMI) today announced a new ... and medical devices. An agreement between ... to license, develop and commercialize medical innovations advanced ... "This partnership represents a significant advance in our ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016   BIOTRONIK , a ... announced Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of ... provides heart failure patients with access to diagnostic ... have remote monitoring with daily automatic transmission and ... rate in response to physiological demands. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: