Mental health resources for seniors
The Schowalter family praised the care Bill Schowalter received from Essentia Health after his suicide attempt at the Duluth port. Siobhan McMahon, a gerontological nurse practitioner from Essentia's elder care department in Duluth, offered the f...
The Schowalter family praised the care Bill Schowalter received from Essentia Health after his suicide attempt at the Duluth port. Siobhan McMahon, a gerontological nurse practitioner from Essentia's elder care department in Duluth, offered the following resources for those dealing with changes as they get older:
Often, depression and other conditions present themselves in different or more diverse ways as we grow older. A review of aging, what is normal and what is not, is the Aging IQ quiz published by the National Institutes of Health: nia.nih.gov/health/publication/whats-your-aging-iq
This reviews many conditions that can present in ways we don't expect, including depression.
One key point they make is that sadness or grumpiness is not a normal part of aging. When this is seen in someone that has not had those characteristics, something is wrong.
If you are looking for help, here are some immediate resources:
The National Institutes on Aging has education resources about aging and serves as a reference. Here is their page on depression and, if you look to the top of the website, you can find a navigator to get to additional resources: nia.nih.gov/health/publication/depression Signs of depression
Dr. Carolyn Phelps, a psychologist and director of outpatient therapy at Duluth's Human Development Center, said depression occurs a bit differently in older people. There are signs, Phelps said, that people can look for:
Neglect in home care Phelps said there are several triggers for the elderly, and most of them deal with some sort of loss. It can be the loss of a job and income, a spouse or friends and relatives, a home, health, a sense of purpose.
Phelps said family members should talk to loved ones about their mental health. Ask them if they are feeling suicidal, she said, or have thought about it. Offer to help them make a trip to their regular doctor, a good place to start, Phelps said. Signs of depression often are caused by changes in how the body deals with medications, Phelps said.
The Human Development Center is a "cradle to grave" resource on issues of mental health, Phelps said. Family members can call to get advice on how to deal with a person they think needs help. The center takes those with no insurance and at any income level.
The Duluth center can be reached at (218) 728-4491. There are centers in Cloquet, Two Harbors, Grand Marais and Superior.
Phelps hosts a weekly television show on mental health issues called "Speak Your Mind" on Duluth's PBS station WDSE. It airs at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays.