Senior Adults Only
Not all geriatric psychiatric programs are the same. Many other programs treat senior adults with younger patient populations. At Haven, we believe senior adults have more complex treatment needs than younger patients. And, treatment outcomes are better when senior adults receive specialized geriatric services separate from younger patients in an environment with individuals with similar experiences and needs as their own.
At Haven, we have created an environment that takes into consideration changes associated with normal aging. Lighting, choice of colors, use of hand rails and flooring help to make the environment safe and comfortable.
We also understand that noisy environments can increase agitation. Our unit layout provides a number of options for our patients to be engaged in activities yet not in an overly stimulating environment.
We provide programming to meet the needs of the patient. This population is often dealing with psychiatric conditions as well as physical symptoms from medical conditions. Each program has two different levels of programming. One level is designed for senior adults who are dealing with depression, anxiety and symptoms that are shown to benefit from didactical therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy. Our social workers and activity therapy staff work to help the patient learn or improve their coping skills, understand the symptoms and triggers for their illness, as well as learn the value of interacting with others. Programming includes topics such as exercise, nutrition, medication groups, stress management, loss and grief counseling.
For those patients who are experiencing decreases in cognitive levels of functioning, the programming is geared toward stimulating memories and reducing anxieties. Those who are experiencing symptoms associated with dementia need to be able to connect with what is familiar to them. Reminiscence and Sensory Stimulation therapies have been shown to help to improve memory as well as to reduce anxieties. The Reminiscence therapy groups are designed to get the patient to interact with the staff and their peers. Long term memories are the last to go, so watching age appropriate movies, talking about life experiences such as a first car, first date, what was happening in a particular period, will engage most of the patients in discussion.
With Sensory stimulation, the therapists are helping the patient to unlock memories that may be related to certain smells, textures and/or sounds. Listening to age appropriate music for an exercise group or just having music playing in a designated room can often help to calm an agitated patient. Videos of aquariums, snow, rain, etc., have also been documented as having significant positive outcomes in reducing patient agitation and anxiety.
Our psychiatrists, along with our internal medicine physicians, understand that the senior adult may respond differently to medications than those who are younger. Often medications prescribed for medical conditions can exacerbate and/or result in behavioral symptoms. Together they work to refine the patient’s medication regimen to provide the best coverage from both a psychiatric and medical perspective.
We also recognize the importance of family involvement to therapy. Whether a loved one is dealing with depression or a dementing diagnosis, it is important that the family also receive support and education. Our programs do encourage visitation on a regular basis, but our social work team also provides for regular family programming during the week. The topics will differ by location, but common topics are related to medication management, understanding the phases of the illness, understanding ways to handle behaviors in the home, as well as dealing with the emotions associated with having to place a parent in a higher level of care.
We recognize that no two patients are exactly alike. Our treatment team comprised of physicians, social workers, nurses and activity therapists work with the patient and family to identify the best plan of care for the patient.
Aging brings on many challenges. Decreased physical and mental capabilities, the loss of loved ones and reduced independence can mean significant changes in the lives of seniors. A sudden or prolonged change in behavior or mood may indicate the presence of mental illness. Sometimes specialized care is needed, and that’s where Haven Senior Horizons can help.