December 1, 2023

Older adults experiencing a behavioral health issue such as anxiety or depression may be embarrassed and think they simply need to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” but helping them seek help can empower them to live their best lives, according to experts.

“Everyone is different, but there are tools for better health, including therapy, medication and self-care,” said Dr. Lindsay Evans-Mitchell, medical director for behavioral health for Cigna Medicare Advantage.

Behavioral health disorders affect one in five adults over 55. Older men have the highest suicide rate of any age group or gender. Among men who are 75 and older, the suicide rate is 40.2 per 100,000 – almost triple the overall rate.

The most common behavioral health disorder in older adults is dementia, and its incidence is growing as the Baby Boomer generation ages. Experts project that more than 9 million Americans 65 years or older will have dementia by 2030. Anxiety disorders and mood disorders are also common among older people.

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