Among those reporting increased confusion or memory loss and functional difficulties, 81 percent indicated the need for assistance, and only 46.5 percent reported getting that help from a family member or friend. The need for care could precede or follow a diagnosis of dementia and escalates over time, said the CDC. Understanding who already requires care and who is at risk of requiring it in the future can help with anticipating needs and costs associated with meeting those needs.
But once service needs of this population are identified, will there be an adequate number of physicians and other professionals to help them? An expert panel has called the dearth of clinicians to treat the elderly an "emerging crisis." Read more in Psychiatric News here. To read about one program to address aging-related functioning, see the American Journal of Psychiatry here.