Individuals 65 and older represent the fastest growing age group in America. In Pennsylvania, one out of every five residents is over the age of 60 with 10 to 28% having behavioral health problems that warrant intervention. Additionally, suicide rates among the elderly are higher than other age groups. The leading cause of attempted suicide is depression coupled with alcohol and/or drug use or abuse, serious illness, social isolation, and limited support.
In many cases, the older adult may be unable to recognize the need for behavioral health treatment or support. This need is often identified by neighbors, local police or family members and does not always reach the level of involuntary intervention by authorities, although that may happen at times. It is critical that community members work together to identify and assist this growing population with their specific needs.
Fayette County Behavioral Health Administration works with the Area Agency on Aging and Fayette County Drug and Alcohol to maximize resources and expertise as we strive to support older adults who chose to remain independent in the community. By collaborating to provide outreach, provider services, crisis intervention, and public education, Fayette County Behavioral Health Administration actively promotes the health of older adults while maintaining community inclusion for older citizens.
Elder abuse and crimes targeting older people are a real issue that come in many forms including neglect, physical, financial and sexual abuse. If you feel someone is being abused, please call your local Area Agency on Aging or the 24-hour state hotline at 800-490-8505.