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Nicole Cadovius

Director of Practice Improvement

Interest Group: Helping Older Adults Heal and Thrive

February 11, 2020 | Interest Groups | Comments
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Alongside our Board of Directors, we recently launched an Interest Group initiative to give our members the tools, knowledge and networks they need to accelerate their learning of – and impact on – various populations of interest. In this blog post, we highlight our new Older Adults group.

Did you know that 25 percent of older adults (age 65 and older) experience a mental disorder? Or that the number of older adults with lived experience is expected to reach 15 million by 2030?

The facts for this often-overlooked population are sobering: Depression affects 7 million older adults; people aged 85 and older have the highest suicide rate of any age group; and the number of older adults with substance abuse problems is expected to reach 5 million this year.

Behavioral health problems are not a normal part of aging, but they can be treated. And yet, far too many older adults – approximately 66 percent – are unable to get the help they need. Of those who do, many report ageism and discrimination when accessing services.

With older adults representing nearly 50 million Americans – they are projected to make up 22 percent of the U.S. population by 2050 – more needs to be done to ensure they can heal and thrive. That is why, in partnership with our Board of Directors, we launched an Interest Group to examine areas of support. What does it entail?

Throughout the year, participants will connect virtually to create resources, attend webinars and publish blog posts with a goal to learn, network and inform others about the behavioral health needs of older adults. Members of the group will also meet at NatCon20 to share their experiences.

This is more than just a national campaign. It’s an opportunity to build a community of older adult providers, administrators and allies to create resources that will impact interventions for – and drive conversations that will improve care within – this population in need.

Our areas of focus include, but are not limited to, mental health and substance use in older adults; outreach methods; support for providers, including sharing best practices and education; integration of physical and mental health; and social determinants of health, among others.

Eager to learn more? Join us for a Forum discussion on February 24 at 2:30 p.m. (ET). Want to join our Group? Contact Nicole Cadovius, the Group lead and director of the Geriatric Technical Assistance Center.