Past Issues

Prevalence of Mental Disorders in a Home for Senior Citizens: a Pilot Study in Taiwan

Hin-Yeung Tsang, M.D., Ph.D.

Objective: Epidemiologic studies have shown a high prevalence of mental
disorders among institutionalized elders in Western countries. Mental problems
among elderly people living in homes for senior citizens in Taiwan have only been
scarcely reported about. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence
of mental disorders among the elderly people living in a home for senior citizens
in southern Taiwan using a standardized diagnostic instrument. Methods:
Two hundred residents aged 65 years and over living in a government-run home
for senior citizen in southern Taiwan were randomly chosen for the study. We used
the Chinese version of the Geriatric Mental State Schedule associated with the Automated
Geriatric Examination for Computer Assisted Taxonomy (CGMS-AGECAT)
for case identifi cation. Results: The one-month prevalence of any mental
disorder was 37.6%, and prevalences for organic mental disorder, schizophrenia,
depressive psychosis, depressive neurosis, hypochondriasis and anxiety disorder
were 19.7%, 1.2%, 2.3%, 12.7%, 1.2% and 0.6%, respectively. Logistic regression
did not show signifi cant risk factors, in sociodemographic variables, for the existence
of mental disorders among our participants. Conclusions: This pilot study
revealed a high prevalence of mental disorders in a home for senior citizens in Taiwan.
Although such rates were relatively low compared to those reported from
Western countries, our health authorities and policy makers should be aware of the
potential hazard of mental disorders among the residents living in homes for elderly
citizens. Further independent study with represented sample is necessary to replicate
these results of the prevalence of mental disorders among residents of home
for elderly citizens in Taiwan.
Key Word CGMS-AGECAT, home for senior citizens, epidemiology
Editorial Committe, Taiwanese Journal of Psychiatry
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