Areas of Focus

Every year, almost 20% of older adults in Canada will experience symptoms of emotional distress such as anxiety or low mood that will be difficult to cope with, and about 6% of older Canadians have a diagnosed anxiety disorder. Anxiety is not a normal part of aging.

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Currently over 600,000 Canadians are diagnosed with dementia and 125,000 more are diagnosed each year. While it is often thought of as changes to memory or thinking, changes in people's mood and their behaviour also occur in over 80% of people diagnosed with dementia.

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Delirium is a common and serious condition often encountered in older persons. Delirium is a medical emergency.

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Depression is the most common mental health problem for older adults. It has profound negative impacts on all aspects of life.

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In Canada, the number of seniors living in long-term care will quadruple by 2031. Mental health issues are common among seniors in LTC.

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Social Isolation and Loneliness

In Canada, older adults are facing growing rates of social isolation and loneliness. This can hurt both their physical and mental health. But loneliness and isolation are not an unavoidable part of aging. Working together, we can strengthen social connections to help maintain good health. 

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Older adults have among the highest rates of suicide worldwide. Most older adults who die by suicide have seen a front-line healthcare provider in the previous 12 months.

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Current estimates indicate that the number of older adults who develop a Substance Use Disorder will rise in the coming years as the baby boomer generation ages. This is driven by both greater rates of lifetime drug use among baby boomers and the size of that generation.

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Mental health can be improved through promoting active and healthy aging. Mental health-specific health promotion for older adults involves creating living conditions and environments that support wellbeing and that support all people to lead a healthy life.

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