Understanding Mental Health Disorders in Seniors
Besides the mental health problems adults of any age may face, such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder and others, older adults may be particularly prone to depression and anxiety as well as dementia.
Contrary to belief, depression and anxiety are not a normal part of aging. Because many people think those conditions are inevitable, older adults often suffer in silence. And their numbers are great.
Expert Staff to Provide Holistic Care
But whatever the diagnosis, help is available through Park Royal Hospital’s inpatient geriatric program for adults over 65. Treatment involves multi-disciplinary teams, including psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, primary care physicians, physical therapists, dietitians and around-the-clock clinical and nursing staff .
Why is that important?
Because mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression – the most common psychiatric problems among older adults – impair a person’s physical health and ability to function. For instance, depression in an older person with heart disease can make heart disease worse. At the same time, it’s common for older adults with heart disease or other medical conditions to suffer from depression. And even mild depression lowers a person’s immune responses and may leave that person more vulnerable to infections and cancers.
Memory loss is an another common issue among the older population, whether due to Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. While Park Royal Hospital does not admit patients strictly for a diagnosis of dementia, it may accompany a psychiatric diagnosis.
All of these issues can make treatment and support for an older adult particularly difficult. Some patients become placement challenges because the housing arrangements they had prior to admission do not provide the level of care they need. When possible, family involvement in these decisions is desired because patients often have limited capacity to make good decisions.
But our staff is equipped to help with all of those issues.
Signs an Older Adult or Senior May Be in Need of our Programming
Changes in mental and physical abilities can be hard to detect in older adults. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are signs that a senior adult may need help. Any one of them indicates the need for further investigation. Has a loved one:
- Changed eating habits, resulting in losing weight, having no appetite, or missing meals?
- Neglected personal hygiene, including wearing dirty clothes and having body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, or sores on the skin?
- Neglected his or her home, with a noticeable change in cleanliness and sanitation?
- Exhibited inappropriate behavior, such as being unusually loud, quiet, paranoid, or agitated, or making phone calls at all hours?
- Changed relationship patterns, causing friends and neighbors to express concerns?
- Had physical problems, such as burns or injury marks, which may result from general weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications?
- Decreased or stopped participating in activities that were once important to them, such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services?
- Exhibited forgetfulness, resulting in unopened mail, piling up of newspapers, not filling their prescriptions, or missing appointments?
- Mishandled finances, such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money?
- Made unusual purchases, such as buying more than one subscription to the same magazine, entering an unusually large number of contests, or increasing purchases from television advertisements?
Please call one of our Intake counselors for a free, confidential consultation.