By Harris Eyre, Lucy E. Stirland, Dilip V. Jeste, Charles F. Reynolds, Michael Berk, Agustin Ibanez, Walter D. Dawson et al.
This position statement of the Expert Panel on Brain Health of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) emphasizes the critical role of life course brain health in shaping mental well-being during the later stages of life. Evidence posits that maintaining optimal brain health earlier in life is crucial for preventing and managing brain aging related disorders such as dementia/cognitive decline, depression, stroke, and anxiety. We advocate for a holistic approach that integrates medical, psychological, and social frameworks with culturally tailored interventions across the lifespan to promote brain health and overall mental well-being in aging adults across all communities. Furthermore, our statement underscores the significance of prevention, early detection, and intervention in identifying cognitive decline, mood changes, and related mental illness. Action should also be taken to understand and address the needs of communities that traditionally have unequal access to preventive health information and services. By implementing culturally relevant and tailored evidence-based practices and advancing research in geriatric psychiatry, behavioral neurology, and geroscience, we can enhance the quality of life for older adults facing the unique challenges of aging. This position statement emphasizes the intrinsic link between brain health and mental health in aging, urging healthcare professionals, policymakers, and a broader society to prioritize comprehensive strategies that safeguard and promote brain health from birth through later years across all communities. The AAGP Expert Panel has the goal of launching further activities in the coming months and years.
Access the full text in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.