With the growth of the elderly population, and the female elderly population in particular, healthcare providers will see increasing numbers of elderly women with psychiatric disorders. To properly care for this group of patients, better understanding is needed not only of group differences in this patient population but also of the differences in each individual, as they age, given their unique life experiences, cohort effects, medical comorbidity, social situation, and personality traits. Understandably, these characteristics will interact with psychiatric disorders in ways that may increase the challenge to correctly diagnose and treat these patients. In addition, understanding late life changes, the prevalence of various mental disorders and the sometimes unique presentation of mental disorders in this age group is required to better diagnose and treat this population. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
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