The Mental Health of the older adults service is a dedicated service of adults aged 65 and older available on an inpatient or day care service basis.
The team cares for people over the age of 65 with mental health problems and illness, including depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, dementia, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
What to expect
The older adult (Evergreen) team is multidisciplinary consisting of consultant psychiatrists, registrars, nursing staff, counsellors, social workers, psychologists and occupational therapists.
The mental health of older adults programme specialises in the mental healthcare of the elderly with a focus on depression and dementia in later life.The overall aims of the service are to facilitate and promote wellness and functional independence. While individual service user’s difficulties are taken into account, intervention is always focused on the restoration, rehabilitation and compensation of their skills.
The main strength of the Mental Health of Older Adults Programme is its holistic nature. Groups focus on the barriers to good quality of life rather than on diagnoses.
Common issues faced by older people addressed in the groups:
- Coping alone
- Physical decline
- Retirement and loss of role.
Other topics addressed include:
- Anxiety management
- Relaxation skills
- Links to outside occupational and leisure outlets
- Falls prevention
- Exercise for the older person.
Functional skills groups include:
- Cooking (meal planning, meals in minutes, cooking for one)
- Mental aerobics (staying mentally fit)
- Memory compensation
- Memory rehabilitation skills.
It is necessary to tailor the groups to the service user’s individual needs. For example, if many of the service user’s attending at a particular time are living alone, it may be necessary to base certain groups primarily on skills for living independently or social support. On the other hand, if service users attending are mostly just retired, it is advisable to tailor a ‘retirement issues’ package to meet their needs.
Who facilitates the groups?
- The co-ordinator (an occupational therapist)
- Registrars in old age psychiatry
- Recreational instructors.
Guest speakers have been invited to contribute to the programme. Support and ideas from outside agencies such as age and opportunity are always welcomed. Such help and support can include information on social and leisure events for older people locally and nationally, resource booklets, details on a national helpline and information on security for older people.
The Mental Health for Older Adults programme will continue to evolve, to take account of the diverse needs of this expanding section of our population, while focusing on empowering service users through sharing information and awareness regarding the key life skills necessary to sustain emotional and psychological health
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