A worldwide trend is the increasing population of older people, both in the absolute numbers and percentages. In spite of the population ageing, little research is dedicated to late-life mental health. Conversely, mental illnesses in older people are highly prevalent and costly. Besides being affected by life-long chronic psychiatric disturbances, older people might run into new (or newly diagnosed) mental disorders. They include neurodegenerative disorders leading to dementias, late-onset psychoses, and ‘common mental disorders’ such as depressive, adjustment and anxiety disorders.
A few peculiarities of late-life mental health disorders deserve some comments. First, at older ages, psychiatric diseases often co-occur with other adverse medical conditions and this worsens prognoses and strengths psychotropic drugs side-effects.