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Indian J Psychiatry. 2004 Oct-Dec; 46(4): 367–372.
PMCID: PMC2950957

Better Mental Health Care for Older People in India

Abstract

Demographic aging will soon lead to a sudden increase in the number of older people with dementia and depression in India. We need to develop services to meet the mental health needs of the aged in the population. Geriatric Psychiatry section of IPS has initiated a process of consultations to address this emerging public health issue. Health professionals involved in the care of older people with mental health problems took part in focus group discussions Their opinion and suggestions regarding development of psychogeriatric services and research were gathered. Urgent action is needed to improve the existing low levels of public awareness about mental health problems of older people. Home based care needs to be supported through formal services in the community. If sensitised properly clinicians, can be more effective in managing depression and dementia at primary care level. Research initiatives can be facilitated by networking of researchers and active efforts at dissemination of important research findings. Community health workers could be trained to identify and provide help to older people with mental health problems and their carers. Community outreach programmes for elderly could be particularly relevant in the rural areas where as development of clinic based psycho-geriatric services may be feasible in urban settings. Good research can influence and shape policies which in turn can result in better mental health care for older people.

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Articles from Indian Journal of Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of Medknow Publications