Myths - Senior Advocate Online

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Myths on Mental Health
Issues in Older Adults
Marsha Obremski, MPA
Executive Director
The Pavilion at Williamsburg
DISCLAMIER
All views or opinions presented are
solely mine and do not represent
those of Diamond Healthcare
Myth:
Most inpatient psychiatric admissions come from LTC facilities.
Fact:
A higher percentage of admissions are
coming from home.
2007
38%
2010
51%
Myth:
Memory Impairment and Depression are related.
Fact:
They can be related, but studies are
inconclusive. Depression does not always
affect memory, but memory impairment may
cause depression.
There are multiple contributing factors such
as poly-pharmacy and unresolved grief.
Myth:
Older adults are at a higher risk for suicide.
Fact:
Young adults ages 40-59 have the
highest rates of depression and suicidal
attempts, but males 85 and older have
the highest rate of completion.
Myth:
The Psychiatric diagnosis drives the treatment plan.
Fact:
• The diagnosis is a billing tool.
• Quality treatment plans take into
consideration social issues, medication
issues, personality issues, behavioral
issues, medical problems and resources.
Myth:
Psychotropic medications have increased the risk of falls in
Long Term Care facilities.
Fact:
Multiple issues have to be evaluated as
contributors to patient falls.
June issues of the Journal of the American
Geriatric Society and The Annals of Long-Term
Care noted that studies are inconclusive. ALL
medications must be reviewed on a regular basis.
Myth:
All things resolve in time…Time heals all wounds
(physical and emotional).
Fact:
Misdiagnosis of residual trauma plagues
older adults.
Case Study
82 year-old female is having difficulty adjusting to
living at a personal care home:
• Sleep disturbance
• Appetite disturbance
• Crying spells
• Isolating
• Begging family to please let her go home
• Irritability and anger
Diagnosis:
Depression or Adjustment Disorder with Depressed
Mood
Residual Trauma
Sexually abused as a child and never told anyone
during her 82 years.
• Fear of the dark – her children said she always slept with
the lights on. Her roommate did not want the lights on.
• Staff coming in her room at night re-traumatized her
• She began having nightmares about the trauma
• She couldn’t connect the dots of what was going on
because she thought she was “over it”
Without therapy, this woman would have continued to
suffer. It is likely her symptoms would have been treated
via poly-pharmacy.
Myth:
Mental health issues arejust part of normal aging
process. “You are just getting old”
Fact:
Despite the development of the
specialty of Geriatric Psychiatry,
older Americans continue to be the
unrecognized group with increasing rates
of untreated mental health disorders,
alcoholism and prescription drug abuse.
Myth:
Medication alone is the best treatment for older adults. Besides
they are too set in their ways to benefit from counseling.
Fact:
Medication and group
psychotherapy has the best results.
We need to continue to work on
“buy in”
from the medical community and those
who work with older adults.
Myth:
Outreach and education has decreased the stigma
associated with mental health Treatment.
Fact:
• Only 39% of people who suffer from a mental
health disorder get treatment from a mental
health professional.
• 74% of people seek treatment from their
primary care physician.
• 50% are misdiagnosed.
• 80% are given too little medication for too
short of time or multiple meds over a prolonged
period of time.
The Pavilion at Williamsburg Place
OPENING JANUARY 2012
• Older Adult Program
• Acute Adult Program
• Psychiatrically Impaired Professionals
• Military Personnel and Dependents
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