Laurel Place offers tips during Mental Health Awareness Month

ELKINS, WV — Recognizing mental health disorders in seniors is crucial for ensuring timely intervention and appropriate treatment. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Davis medical Center’s Laural Place is sharing tips to help identify potential mental health issues in older adults.

  • Changes in Mood or Behavior: Pay attention to significant changes in mood or behavior, such as increased irritability, sadness, agitation, or withdrawal from social activities.
  • Cognitive Changes: Be alert to noticeable changes in cognitive function, such as memory loss, confusion, disorientation, or difficulty concentrating.
  • Physical Symptoms: Keep an eye out for physical symptoms that may be associated with mental health disorders, such as unexplained aches and pains, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, fatigue, or unexplained weight loss.
  • Social Withdrawal: Notice if the senior becomes increasingly isolated or withdraws from social interactions, hobbies, or previously enjoyed activities.
  • Changes in Self-Care: Monitor changes in the senior’s ability to perform activities of daily living, such as bathing, grooming, and dressing.
  • Expressed Concerns: Take note if the senior expresses concerns about their mental or emotional well-being, or if they report experiencing distressing thoughts, feelings of hopelessness, or thoughts of self-harm.
  • Medication Side Effects: Be aware of potential side effects of medications commonly prescribed to seniors, as some medications can contribute to or exacerbate mental health symptoms. Consult with healthcare providers if you suspect medication-related issues.
  • History of Mental Health Disorders: Consider the individual’s personal or family history of mental health disorders, as genetics and past experiences can influence the likelihood of developing mental health concerns later in life.
  • Functional Impairment: Assess the senior’s ability to function independently and maintain their quality of life.

“When in question or doubt, seek guidance from healthcare providers,” said Marlana Pennington, BSN, PMH RN-BC, program director of Laurel Place. “Primary care physicians, geriatric specialists, psychologists, or psychiatrists can conduct comprehensive assessments, provide appropriate diagnoses, and recommend tailored treatment plans.”

“By remaining vigilant and attentive to potential signs of mental health disorders in seniors, you can help ensure that they receive the support, care, and treatment they need to maintain optimal mental and emotional well-being,” Pennington added.

Laurel Place is a geriatric behavioral health inpatient program. They effectively treat patients’ unique mental, emotional, and health-related needs. The program is dedicated to improving the behavioral health of patients, allowing them to live healthy & active lives. To make a referral, call the one-call referral line 304-630-3508 or fax 304-630-3551.

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