Diabetes in Older Adults
Dan G. Blazer and Susan K. Schultz
DAN G. BLAZER, MD, MPH, PhD
CLINICS IN GERIATRIC MEDICINE
In the comprehensive care of people with Parkinson disease (PD), recognition of cognitive impairment is essential. Cognitive impairment in PD can be varied in its clinical features and rates of progression and is now recognized to occur throughout the disease, from early, de novo to more advanced stages. However, the many factors related to the disease itself, underlying pathologies, comorbidities, and genetics may play a role in the development of mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI) and dementia (PDD). To date, the field lacks curative or disease-modifying treatments for PD cognitive impairment and has few effective, robust symptomatic therapies for PDD or PD-MCI.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur at any point in the life span and can last for decades. Chronic PTSD can affect quality of life and have a negative impact on physical function and health in the elderly and may be associated with premature aging and dementia. It is critical that clinicians screen for trauma-based symptoms and to treat as appropriate.
The excess risk of early mortality, medical comorbidity, early institutionalization, and high costs among older adults with serious mental illness necessitates development and dissemination of effective and sustainable integrated care models that simultaneously address mental and physical health needs. This overview highlights current, evidence-based integrated care models, which predominantly adopt the following approaches: (1) psychosocial skills training, (2) integrated illness self-management, and (3) collaborative care and behavioral health homes. Finally, innovative models that build on these approaches by incorporating novel uses of telehealth, mobile health technology and peer support, and strategies from developing economies are discussed.
Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are universally experienced by people with dementia throughout the course of the illness and cause a significant negative impact on quality of life for patients and caregivers. Nonpharmacologic treatments have been recommended as first-line treatment of BPSD by multiple professional organizations and should target patients with dementia factors, caregiver factors, and environmental factors. Psychotropic medications are often prescribed off-label without significant evidence to support their use. The Describe, Investigate, Create, Evaluate approach can provide a structured method to investigate and treat BPSD with flexibility to use in multiple treatment settings.
Further understanding of older age bipolar disorder (OABD) may lead to more specific recommendations for treatment adjusted to the specific characteristics and needs caused by age-related somatic and cognitive changes. Late-onset mania has a broad differential diagnosis and requires full psychiatric and somatic work-up, including brain imaging. Research on pharmacotherapy in OABD is limited. First-line treatment of OABD is similar to that for adult bipolar disorder (BD), with specific attention to vulnerability to side effects and somatic comorbidity. Because findings in younger adults with BD cannot be extrapolated to OABD, more research in OABD is warranted.