Senior mental health
Mental health disorders continue to greatly influence our senior population, as Alzheimer's, dementia and mood disorders remain widespread in the senior community. Counselors and physicians are here to help seniors suffering from mental health problems that may include, memory loss, confusion or depression.
Mental health and wellness programs for seniors in Florida
Just like our physical health, mental health and wellness continually evolves as we age.
This means it presents new challenges the older we get. Because the signs of physical conditions and mental health conditions often overlap, it can also get harder for us to know when seniors need behavioral health care.
In these cases, we encourage you to "ask questions early and often," ensuring your loved ones get the care they need when they need it. To help with that, HCA Florida Healthcare's senior health specialists provide many programs and offerings designed just for seniors at our hospitals and mental health and wellness centers. Inpatient programs, outpatient programs, support groups and therapies are all possibilities for helping you and your loved one.
Types of mental health conditions in seniors
In addition to needing care for more typical mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, seniors may need mental health care if they have:
- Aggressive or assaultive behaviors
- Aging and transitional coping issues
- Delusional thought processes or are hearing voices
- Deterioration of sleep or sleeping excessively
- Disruptions or disinterest in daily activities, including the inability to socialize, work or perform daily chores
- Frequent crying for extended periods
- Hopelessness, loss of motivation or care for self
- Inability to adjust or recover from loss or life changes, such as:
- A loss of relationship (e.g., spouse, sibling, child or significant other)
- Diagnosis of a terminal illness
- Loss of emotional or physical independence
- Loss of home or finances
- Isolation or significant change or drastic decrease in socialization
- Life stress or trauma
- Loss of appetite or severe reduction in eating
- Relationship problems
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors or wishing for death
- Suspicious or unrealistic fears
- Worry, fear, anxiety or excessive preoccupation with physical complaints
Our senior mental health programs and services
Just as children need different care from adults, seniors need specialized services as well, and that’s just what we offer.
Outpatient mental health programs for seniors
Similar to our adult outpatient programs, we offer two primary senior outpatient programs for those who do not need 24-hour care:
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP) — structured treatments but with more individualized attention
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP) — very structured intensive treatment
Inpatient mental health programs for seniors
We offer several senior mental health programs at our hospitals in dedicated care units that ensure privacy and comfort. These programs provide:
- Family support
- Group and individual psychotherapy
- Loss management and relapse support
- Medication assessment
- Medication education
- Occupational therapy
- Psychoeducational group therapy
Inpatient amenities for seniors
As part of our inpatient programs, our facilities offer many amenities, such as:
- Quiet rooms for visitors (especially during the admission and intake process) and extended visiting hours
- Open nurses' stations (to encourage patients to speak with staff any time)
- Semi-private rooms with:
- Handicap-accessible bathrooms and showers as well as slip-resistant and textured bathroom floors
- Personalized door signs
- Psychiatric-safe medical beds
- Tamper-resistant light fixtures, plumbing fixtures and toilet accessories
- Virtual bed monitoring for safety and security
- Dedicated activity rooms (to encourage relaxation, meditation, reading time and quiet talking)
- Laundry rooms and staff that assist with laundry (to enable patients to wear their own clothes and be able to keep them clean)
- Dining rooms (laid out to encourage social interaction and familiar feelings at mealtimes)
- Outdoor patios (with areas reserved for senior use)
After inpatient care, we want our patients to continue to be successful in their healing. To do that, we offer discharge planning and aftercare services, such as connecting patients with community resources and alternative ongoing care programs. We can also help recommend other specialists, thanks to our connected network of hospitals across the state. Whatever level of care you and your loved one needs, we'll help you get it.
Our senior mental health specialists
The mental health team members who work in our senior programs are experts in geriatric healthcare. They are sensitive to the specialized needs and feelings of senior patients and their families.
Some of the types of specialists you will find in our senior mental health programs include:
- Board-certified psychiatrists
- Social workers
Referring someone to our inpatient geriatric psychiatric programs
Our senior programs have special access, response centers and call lines that make referrals easy and quick, 24/7. Community partners, physicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, hospitals and others may initiate the referral process. To access the helplines and begin the process, you can check the behavioral health pages of the hospital you're interested in.
If you aren't sure what constitutes a condition or circumstance in which your loved one may need help, contact one of our behavioral health specialists.