The District Policy Group, working on behalf of client Alliance for Aging Research, convened and moderated a thought leadership roundtable that led to the publication of a white paper in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry (AJGP).
“Promoting Wellness in Older Adults with Mental Illnesses and Substance Use Disorders: Call to Action to All Stakeholders” focuses on mental health issues accompanying dementia, depression and suicide, and serious mental illness and substance use disorders in older Americans. It also identifies gaps in research and discusses health education and public policy recommendations.
The paper is the result of an all-day roundtable that was co-hosted by District Policy Group client, Alliance for Aging Research, and UC San Diego Center for Healthy Aging. The District Policy Group chaired and facilitated the meeting, which brought together more than 50 representatives from academia, patient advocacy organizations, health care provider and medical professional societies, research entities, and the federal government to discuss this growing crisis among older adults. District Policy Group President Ilisa Halpern Paul, the meeting facilitator, is one of the authors of the paper.
In a press statement, AJGP Editor-in-Chief Charles F. Reynolds, III, M.D., called the paper “extraordinarily timely and important.”
“While there is no one answer for every disease, individualized and person-centered care will have the greatest impact in promoting wellness and longevity,” said Susan Peschin, MHS, president and CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research. “The take-home message is that, while there is still much work to be done, there are many actions that communities, clinicians, and families can take right now to help ensure the latter years of their loved one’s lives are spent in happiness, not hopelessness.”
Following the paper’s publication, Ilisa reflected on the roundtable, “It was an honor and privilege to lead such an important dialogue on pressing health issues that, because of demographics, will impact virtually every American family and community. While the outlook may seem daunting, the enthusiasm, creativity, and commitment exhibited by the meeting participants gives me great hope that we can turn the tide. I hope that policymakers, providers, and other stakeholders read the paper and are spurred to action.”