Mental Health Services When Working With Seniors
Posted May 2, 2017

When seeking assisted living facilities for seniors in the Naperville area, available mental health services should be considered. Senior Living Experts can help you choose the right facility.

Choosing The Right Facility

Assisted living facilities in Naperville and surrounding areas offer varying levels of care for different physical health needs of their elderly residents. Some, however, also specialize in providing certain types of mental health needs and may be a better fit for family members seeking a safe, welcoming community for their loved one.
Finding the right fit is critical for the peace of mind for residents and also for family members looking for a quality place for special people to receive care beyond what they are able to receive at home. This is especially true when mental health needs are involved: some families may not have adequate training, secure homes or scheduling availability to properly care for someone around the clock who continues to develop mental health challenges.
However, an assisted living facility that is able to provide mental health services and care can help with these types of residents, and help them feel welcome while providing them with round-the-clock trained care and physical security.
The staff at Senior Living Experts are skilled in providing the type of care required. Some of the more common types of mental health challenges we can help with are:

Depression

It’s expected that as people age, they’ll have more moments of sadness, such as grief over recently deceased friends or family members, changes in environment or even financial concerns. Even the stress of having to consider relocating to a retirement community and give up a longtime home can cast a negative light on everything around someone.
But there are critical differences from ‘feeling a little blue sometimes’ to suffering full-blown depression. The latter can be an actual chronic mental illness that can strongly impact a senior’s life – and sometimes the lives of their caregivers or family members. With prolonged depression, they may lose interest in previous pleasures or hobbies, want to withdraw, and sometimes lack interest in exercise, activities or even eating. All of these could affect their physical health as well.
The staff at Senior Living Experts are trained to observe residents around the clock, notice any of the possible symptoms of depression, and encourage them to take whatever steps are necessary to help them. This could be everything from encouraging them to be involved in social and physical activities around the community to involving their health care provider, who could discuss different medication or therapy options.
Medical science continues to research the causes and treatments of depression, but an assisted living community can be a good place to make sure they are well-supported.

Dementia

This is a blanket term for many of the temporary or permanent behaviors associated with declines in mental ability, especially as someone ages. These can include confusion, memory loss, perception problems, and simply problems paying attention.
Some forms of dementia may even trigger other mental health problems, such as depression.
Some may be reversible, while others, including Alzheimer’s disease, are permanent, progressive, conditions. However, research is still taking place.  
Assisted living facilities with mental health services take special effort to aid residents suffering from different types of dementia or not aggravate them further. This can include everything from playing familiar music to cooking familiar food, as sound and scents from someone’s past have each shown to be especially calming.
Residents may gather to be social and share memories from the past, which are often more vivid than current memories. Or they may get together as a group to work on puzzles or other mental challenges to keep their brains active.
Some assisted living facilities have been especially designed for memory care patients, and include tools like monitored doors or locked gates to keep residents from leaving on their own. The staff at many facilities has also been trained in how to courteously accommodate residents who may lose track of their rooms or forget their surroundings.

Other Services

Research is continuing into possible ties between mental health and aging, so some employees who work in assisted living facilities remain interested in seeking programs and activities that may boost interest and participation – and possibly may aid mental health as well.
In the Naperville area, some alternative or complementary medicine providers in the community come to one of the facilities to visit and work with residents. Their services are designed especially with seniors in mind, such as acupuncture, a method where slim needles inserted in someone’s skin to help boost mental and physical energy; and holistic medicine, where seniors receive an education in topics about herbs and other natural products to provide extra energy and a better diet.

Making The Transition Easier

Senior Living Experts are here to help smooth the transition for your loved one. Contact us to learn the best steps to take when you are considering assisted living for a senior with mental health challenges.

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