As humans age, it’s natural for some changes to occur. Forgetfulness is a common effect of aging, but persistent memory loss can be a sign of dementia or another serious mental illness. Mental health issues may be related to aging, chronic health conditions or stressful life events such as the loss of loved ones. They can also be caused by a condition that has gone undiagnosed for decades. Whatever the origin of the mental health illness, it is important to seek help from trained professionals.
Help for seniors with mental health concerns
Senior Behavioral Health Units are designed to treat elderly patients experiencing mental, emotional or behavioral problems. Sometimes, however, it is difficult to know when a loved is experiencing symptoms of mental illness or just the normal changes of older age. Signs of crisis can include persistent personality changes or unusual behavior. These signs may signal that a loved one is suffering from anxiety, clinical depression or other mental health illness.
Signs and symptoms that may indicate treatment:
• Depressed mood, extreme sadness or irritability
• Feeling useless, helpless or hopeless
• Personality changes over time
• Unexplained physical ailments
• Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
• Extreme fluctuation in weight
• Changes in energy level
• Loss of interest in appearance
• Increasing difficulty remembering ordinary things
• Excessive fears, anxieties or suspiciousness
• Confused thinking, difficultly concentrating or disorientation
• Feeling rejected by others
• Withdrawal from family, friends and others
• Hearing voices or imagining things that do not exist
• Needing more medication than should be necessary for a physical condition
• Refusal to take needed medication
• Suicidal thoughts
• Growing inability to cope with daily living
Don’t hesitate to seek help if a loved one is experiencing any of the above symptoms. Caregivers should keep an eye out for the early warning signs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 percent of American adults aged 55 or older have experienced some type of mental health concern, but about one third of those do not receive treatment. With many senior mental health concerns such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, treatment is generally most effective when started early in the disease process. Appropriate and prompt treatment can slow or even stop the rate of further decline.
What to expect at a Senior Behavioral Health Unit
The first thing the medical team will do at a Senior Behavioral Health Unit is perform a thorough evaluation of the patient’s physical condition as well as their mental and cognitive status to help determine the possible causes of the behavioral or mental changes. They will also check for any underlying medical issues and review the patient’s medical history for any conditions that may contribute to the behavioral changes. Afterwards, the medical team will work the patient and their family to develop a treatment plan that best meets the needs of the individual. Nursing and medical support are available around the clock to offer medical support and crisis care, if necessary. The goal of inpatient treatment is to stabilize behavior to achieve maximum independence and functioning so patients can maintain the progress they made during their hospital stay.
Senior Behavioral Health Unit in Houston
OakBend Medical Center has a state-of-the-art Senior Behavioral Health Unit to treat seniors throughout the greater Houston area. Their staff is proficient in providing both psychiatric and medical care for seniors. If you or a loved one have experienced any of the signs or symptoms that may indicate treatment please call 281-238-7880 and schedule an appointment with one of OakBend Medical Center’s licensed psychiatrists, geriatricians or medical doctors. They are available 24/7 and all information is completely confidential. To make a referral or for more information please call 281-238-7890.