Monday, August 8, 2016
Dementia, Prison Health Problems (Research, Video 2:28)
Rapid growth of older adults in America is not only in the general society. America sentences more people in prison than any other country in the world. The number of prisoners from ages 65 and older is growing much faster than the rate of the overall prison population. Longer sentences and increased parole also impact the increasing numbers. These aging prisoners have ongoing health problems such as chronic medical conditions, drug-and alcohol-related diseases, mental and behavioral health issues, and other impairments.
A study examining 22 older adult prisoner health problems among1,026 men was done. Results divided them into four health groups:
1) Relatively healthy (45.1%)
2) Substance users with behavioral health issues (23.4%)
3) Chronic unhealthy with impairments and violence/injury
4) Very unhealthy across all domains (7.9%)
Elderly inmates have varied and complex problems that should have ongoing monitoring. This would aid correctional and community health programs in understanding clinical risks, exposures, and health care needs for this population. One major health concern is dementia. Due to the poor health of many prisoners (elevated levels of depression, diabetes, hypertension, HIV, etc.) they have a higher likelihood of getting dementia. This video features a Fishkill Prison near New York. Dr. Joseph Avanzato heads the prison unit for the cognitively impaired inmates.
Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.