capabilities not commonly available at a walk-in
clinic such as radiology and lab work. Urgent
care clinics are also open seven days a week
with extended hours. Most clinics are available
for insured and non-insured patients.
The American Psychological Association
(“APA”) notes, “As America’s population ages,
the need for mental and behavioral health services
continues to increase. Psychologists are
playing a critical role in addressing these needs.”
According to the APA, mental health is a
growing concern for the aging population.
• Older Americans underutilize mental health
services because of inadequate funding for
mental health services; lack of collaboration
and coordination among primary care, mental
health and aging service providers; access
barriers; stigma surrounding mental illness
and treatment; denial of problems; and lack
of trained professionals in the provision of
geriatric mental health services.
• Fear, distress, anger, stress, social support
and relaxation have been shown to influence
immune and cardiac functions, susceptibility
to infection, pain, asthma and recovery from
Mental health is a critical component in ensuring
a high quality of life for older adults. In
Polk County, several organizations exist to curb
some of the influences that can affect a senior
adult’s mental health. Several organizations
help with companionship, food, and transportation,
while others focus on deeper issues such
as depression and anxiety disorders. Counselors,
churches, and mental health providers
have many programs available for senior adults.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
Polk County has a plethora of services available
to the aging population. From health care
clinics offering convenient and comprehensive
services to non-profit organizations aimed at
helping you navigate, there is a right place for
you. When looking for the best health care
option in your community, think about these
questions when exploring your options:
• Where is the practice located?
• Will it be easy for you to get there?
• Is it accessible by public transportation?
• Is there ample parking?
• Which hospital(s) does the doctor use?
• Are you comfortable with the possibility of
being treated at one of these institutions
should the need arise?
• Where are routine x-rays and laboratory studies
• Can these be done in-office, or will you have
to go to an outside laboratory?
• How long must you wait for an appointment
after you call?
• Can you be seen on the same day if you have
an urgent need?
• Is the office staff friendly and courteous?
• If you call with a question about your care,
does a doctor or nurse return your call
• Who covers for the physician when he/she
• Whom should you call if you have a problem
• If the doctor works in a group, are you comfortable
with being seen by one of the practice
• Does the physician frequently refer patients
to specialists or does he/she prefer to manage
the majority of your care themselves?
• Does the office have specialists in-house or
contracted through another clinic?
• Does the office process insurance claims, or
must you pay up-front for services and file the