The number of older Americans will double by 2060. This increase in the number of older Americans signifies growing mental health needs for which we are not prepared. Multiple factors will make it difficult to meet these needs without re-conceptualizing how we deliver care. First, the United States faces a severe geriatric mental health workforce shortage in that there are not enough trained providers or trainees in the pipeline to meet the future mental health needs. Second, barriers, such as mobility and transportation difficulties, impede older adults’ access to care. Third, the migration of older adults to rural areas diminishes older adults’ access to mental health services, as fewer providers are available in these locations. Technologies, such as telephones, telehealth, computers, the Internet, and mobile devices, may provide solutions to the growing geriatric mental health needs. Technology has the potential to support older adults’ needs ranging from increasing social connectedness to facilitating medication management and supporting independent living. Moreover, technology-delivered assessment and interventions are scalable, can be delivered where older adults live, and can deliver evidence-based interventions with less provider time and contact compared with traditional face-to-face interventions.
Elsevier, Handbook of Mental Health and Aging (Third Edition), 2020, Pages 401-415