Older Adults

“Over 20% of adults aged 60 and over suffer from a mental or neurological disorder (excluding headache disorders).” 

Source: World Health Organization


Many older adults are at an increased risk of developing mental health issues such as anxiety and/or depression, neurological disorders, substance use problems, as well as other health conditions.

Thankfully, there is a large reservoir of resources that offer help and support.

Depression and Anxiety

Depression is a treatable medical condition—like diabetes or hypertension—and not a normal part of aging, though older adults are at higher risk of experiencing depression.1 Depressive symptoms in older adults often arise as a result of health problems, bereavement, and loss of social contact. According to the National Institutes of Health, almost 5% of seniors have experienced a major depressive disorder episode in the last year. 

On the other side, until recently, doctors believed that anxiety disorders declined with age. But experts now recognize that aging and anxiety are not mutually exclusive: anxiety is as common among the old as among the young. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is the most common anxiety disorder among older adults, though anxiety disorders in this population are frequently associated with traumatic events such as a fall or acute illness.

Have an aging parent or relative? Learn about tips to facilitate conversations about anxiety.

Resources for Older Adults

For older adults who are suffering from increased anxiety, stress, or general mental health, it is important to seek help.

Treatment Resources:

Additional website resources 2

Support groups:

Grief or loneliness:

Substance use disorder:

  • Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hotline at 1-800-662-4357

Suicide prevention:

ADAA Resources


References:

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2021, January). Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older. CDC.gov. https://www.cdc.gov/aging/depression/index.html
  2. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). (2021, September). COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide. NAMI.org. https://www.nami.org/Support-Education/NAMI-HelpLine/COVID-19-Information-and-Resources/COVID-19-Resource-and-Information-Guide#q12
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