Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Public Health

pp 910-913

Mental Health in Older Adults

  • Isabel HachAffiliated withKlinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Klinikum Nürnberg Nord




Specific chronological markers for old age are defined in different ways by different authors. The definition of “older adults” varies, depending on different perspectives and purposes. Whereas gerontologists traditionally focus on individuals aged 60 years and older, the federal government of the U.S.A. uses age 65 as a marker for full Social Security and Medicare benefits. Researchers identify subgroups of “older adults” as “younger old” (ages 65–75), “older-old” (ages 75–85), and “oldest old” (ages 85+). Age ranges vary across studies.

Basic Characteristics


The demographics of the industrial world are well known. It is important to understand the needs of older adults suffering from (and living with) mental disorders. There are age‐dependent and treatment‐relevant changes that have to be considered in the elderly. For example, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic variables can influence the effect of a pharmacological th ...

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