[Promoting "successful aging" in community psychiatric care].

Hidehito Niimura, Takahiro Nemoto, Kei Sakuma, Masafumi Mizuno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Recently, patients with schizophrenia have been progressively aging in a way similar to that of the general population. In Japan, community mental health care has become more active in the context of the policy of promoting the discharge of patients from psychiatric hospitals. Patients with chronic schizophrenia who have been discharged are already approaching old age. "Successful aging" may be a key concept in their community-based psychiatric care. Successful aging does not emphasize a loss of youth, but focuses on gains and growth achieved with aging. In the Sasagawa Project, 78 patients with schizophrenia were gradually transferred from a psychiatric hospital to a community dwelling. Eight years have passed since the project began. Elder patients (>60 years old) showed stable psychiatric symptoms and were rarely readmitted to the psychiatric ward. They were, however, more often readmitted to hospital due to physical disease (for example, lifestyle-related disease or fracture) than were middle -aged patients (<60 years old). Elder patients cannot simultaneously receive mental health services under the Services and Support for Persons with Disabilities Act, and long-term care under the Long-Term Care Insurance Act. We hope that the government will establish a new system and institutions that address the needs of elder psychiatric patients. Elder patients with schizophrenia have an optimistic view of their own aging, but they are not sufficiently prepared for old age. In the mental health care of aging psychiatric patients, it is necessary to not only control psychiatric symptoms, but also promote and improve their quality of life by maintaining their ability to continue living in the community (for example, by supporting their preparations for old age).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)380-386
Number of pages7
JournalSeishin shinkeigaku zasshi = Psychiatria et neurologia Japonica
Volume113
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug 5

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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