Is Mental Health Prioritized for the Elderly?

Mental health services
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Mental health services are important for many seniors.

How mental health is viewed and understood has changed significantly over the years.

Even so, many people still think mental health services involve straightjackets and institutions for dangerous individuals.

In reality, most people could benefit from mental health services at some point in their lives.

According to a recent McKnight’s Senior Living article titled “More than 40 percent of assisted living communities do not provide mental health services: CDC,” elderly individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s often require mental health services.

Mental health services benefit those with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and depression.
Not all assisted living communities provide mental health services.

Unfortunately, these are not often readily available.

Data reported in the biennial National Study of Long-Term Care Providers underscored this fact.

According to the numbers, 41.9 percent of assisted living residents carried a dementia diagnosis.

In addition, 30.9 percent of residents had depression.

About one-fourth of residential care facilities have more than 75 percent of their residents diagnosed with either dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Despite these diagnoses, about half of these assisted living communities do not have mental health services provided to residents.

These communities with higher diagnoses tend to have fewer beds, with 77.5 percent having between four and 25 beds.

Only 22 percent had 26 to 50 beds, and 11.6 percent had more than 50 beds.

The facilities with higher numbers of dementia diagnoses had more support time given to residents.

Compared to those with fewer dementia patients, these facilities averaged 33 more minutes of aide time and 10 more minutes of activities staff time.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s are not the only mental health service needs in assisted living facilities.

In fact, those facilities with higher rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s also report greater numbers of depression diagnoses.

If you or your aging relative would benefit from mental health services, make the availability of such services a priority when researching assisted living facilities.

Reference: McKnight’s Senior Living (Dec. 7, 2020) “More than 40 percent of assisted living communities do not provide mental health services: CDC”

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