Last week-end I attended the Nami MN Gala. Support for mental health is growing. There is a focus to diagnosis early as we know that 75% of mental health issues begin between the ages of 14-24. And we also know that with an early diagnosis people today can live much more successful lives. Yet, there are many older adults with a mental health condition, often that they have lived with all their lives. And, they may never have “officially” been diagnosed. Depression in the elderly is real and it is NOT a normal part of aging. That coupled with dementia can be a difficult road to travel.
The National Institute of Mental Health has information about symptoms with older adults that may signal a mental health condition https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/older-adults-and-mental-health/index.shtml
If you have a loved one that is depressed or has a mental health condition and you are looking at senior living options these are a few things to ask:
- Do you have a psychiatrist that comes to your building as part of your physician services?
- Has your community had much experience with older adults with a mental illness? Bi Polar etc Have you been successful at keeping them here?
- Have your care staff received any training about depression in the elderly or mental illness in general? What about your Director of Wellness or RNs/LPNs on staff, what is their experience with mental illness?
- Do you have a social worker on staff that can assist you with finding necessary supports for my loved one with a mental illness?
If you have an elderly loved one with a mental illness and are looking for placement, we are happy to help you in your search.