Goal Statement: This prevention project aims to increase awareness of the mental health issues that impact older adults in the Lansing area and identify healthy aging measures to prevent future mental health issues within the elder population to keep this demographic out of long-term psychiatric care facilities.
Significant Findings: The older adult demographic is growing and becoming more diverse (Kampfe, 2015). Older adults will outnumber children under 18 for the first time in United States history by the year 2034 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2019). Individual and community risk factors and increasing discrimination, ageism, and isolation pose a greater risk of suffering from mental distress and diagnoses for older adults (Burnes et al., 2019). It has been found that Positive Psychology measures prove invaluable to help older adults’ lead healthier, more fulfilling lives (Jeste & Palmer, 2013; Shukla, 2015; Gough & Cassidy, 2017). Prevention measures and advocacy efforts will undoubtedly increase healthy aging practices in Lansing, Michigan
Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: Objectives will be to increase awareness of the growing aging population’s mental health needs and implement positive psychology prevention measures to utilize protective factors within the individuals and the community. There will also be an aim to increase professional knowledge about older adults’ mental health care needs. The use of collaboration and outreach within the community will increase participation and the likelihood of successful prevention programming. Initiatives like “The Art of Happiness” will draw from older adults’ positive attributes and promote healthy aging practices. Utilization of existing community resources, like the Tri-County Office on the Aging, will ensure collaboration efforts benefit older adults in Lansing, Michigan.