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"The rates of serious and chronic mental illnesses are very low in the older adult population; however, they are important to understand. Improvements in mental health and general medical care have resulted in more individuals with serious mental illness living longer than ever before.
The long-term health outcomes vary for people with serious mental illnesses. For older people who have received proper treatment, experienced relief from symptoms and who have strong family and/or social support systems, late life may unfold as it would for someone without a mental illness. For older individuals who developed the disorder in their younger years without adequate treatment, a strong support network or good health practices, the outcome is less promising. Disease and disability are more likely to begin at a younger age for people with chronic mental illness. People with serious and persistent mental illness have a life expectancy that is shorter than the general population."