Anxiety disorders are among the most common psychiatric disorders in older adults. However while anxiety is very prevalent in older people, dementia is also a common illness in this group and this can lead to mood disorders such as anxiety and depression being overlooked as the symptoms are similar.
This is made more problematic by there being little research on diagnosing anxiety in this age group. Many of the previously available measures of adult anxiety were not validated with older populations and those that had been validated, were inadequate in certain contexts. In addition, many of the self-report tests that have been used in the past with older adults, were originally designed for younger populations and so are less than ideal in reflecting the age-specific symptoms of anxiety.
The GAI was developed specifically to fill this gap and reflects years of research led by Professor Nancy Pachana from the UQ School of Psychology, and Professor Gerard Byrne from the UQ School of Medicine.
The result is this simple tool which allows screening for dimensional anxiety in older adults who may have anxiety, yet have not been properly diagnosed.
The GAI has demonstrated sound psychometric properties. Initial clinical testing indicated that it is able to discriminate between those with and without any anxiety disorder and between those with and without DSM-IV Generalized Anxiety Disorder. According to Prof Pachana, GAI has high sensitivity detecting geriatric anxiety symptoms among drug trial anticipants.
- Simple, straightforward design: a simple 20 item questionnaire
- Quick and easy to use by a range of health professionals
- Can even be self-administered
- Older adult specific – the GAI has been designed specifically for those aged 65 and over.
- Extensively tested and backed by years of research and evidence base
- Available in over 20 language translations
- Used in over 20 countries worldwide
Untreated anxiety can lead to cognitive impairment, disability, poor physical health, and a poor quality of life.
The more we can do to ensure people are being correctly diagnosed and treated, the better.