According to the World Health Organization, mental health and neurological disorders among older adults account for 6.6% of the total disability for this age group. Approximately 15% of adults aged 60 and over live with a mental health disorder.
McLean Hospital clinicians are experts in older adult mental health. We focus on conditions unique to older adults (like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and memory impairment). We also treat conditions with unique challenges for people in this age group (such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety).
Psychiatric care of older adults can include managing the normal effects of mental and physical changes of aging. Care also focuses on the psychological and neurological changes that can worsen as the body and brain get older.
How We Care for Older Adults
Our interdisciplinary team of expert clinicians and support staff has chosen geriatrics as their specialty and pride themselves on providing compassionate and efficient care. We work together to collaborate with patients and families to provide first-class treatment in a comfortable environment.
The main components of care include diagnostic evaluation, solution-focused treatment, group therapy, behavioral strategies, medication evaluation and management, and aftercare planning.
Consultation services are also available, including internal medicine, neurology, imaging, rehabilitation medicine, nutrition services, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Our older adult programs utilize proven treatment models informed by basic and clinical research.
Treatment options include short-term acute inpatient care geared towards stabilization for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and thought disorders, as well as those coping with loss, bereavement, and changes in functioning, behavior, and agitation.
We also offer outpatient services focused on follow-up care and dedicated to skill building and symptom reduction for patients with an array of psychiatric conditions who do not require hospitalization.
Older Adult Care at a Glance
- Evidence-Based Care: Treatment focuses on approaches proven by research to be effective, such as cognitive behavior therapy.
- Assessment: Upon admission, each patient is thoroughly evaluated so that clinicians can create customized care plans.
- Group Therapy: Patients participate in our robust group therapy program. This structured environment supports patients as they work toward stabilization and recovery.
- Medication Consultation: When indicated, medication can be an important tool for mental health care. Patients meet with a psychiatrist as needed.
- Support and Education: Our educational curriculum promotes prolonged recovery. Resources are available for patients and their loved ones.
Supporting the Whole Family
Family involvement is a key component to older adult mental health and ongoing efforts to support mental wellness as we age.
Supporting a spouse or parent who is struggling with their mental health can be challenging. Treatment also includes resources, groups, and support for family members and caregivers. This prevents burnout and other unwanted effects throughout the family.
It is important for caregivers and close family members to understand the mental health conditions and the steps clinicians are suggesting to best help their relative. Family and caregiver education is a regular part of older adult mental health care.
Caregivers are also often taught the same skills the patient is learning. This allows them to help the individual to practice the skills outside of treatment and use the skills to manage challenging thoughts and behaviors. Support from family and other members of the person’s community is crucial to maintaining the gains from treatment.