Mental Health of Older Adults With Intellectual Disability

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Across most age groups, individuals with intellectual disability (ID) have higher rates of mental health conditions than the general population. Approximately one third of older adults with ID living in the community experience the same mental health conditions as older adults in the general population but have unique needs for assessment and treatment. A health equity framework offers an important social perspective in addressing these needs. Timely recognition and diagnosis of mental health conditions in individuals with ID involves collaboration with family and other supports. Among older adults with ID, polypharmacy is strongly associated with mental health conditions. Older adults with ID are more likely to use the emergency department for treatment of their mental health conditions. The majority of mental health providers are not trained in working with patients with ID. Education, policy changes, and research are needed to improve the mental health care of this population.


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