BLOG: Seniors and Mental Health

There is an emerging need for elder care in the field of psychiatry. Dementia and other behavioral disorders that impede quality-of-life and create safety issues are becoming increasingly common among the elderly as the size of the senior citizen population grows, longevity increases and the incidence of illnesses that cause cognitive impairment continues to escalate. 
Seniors who are struggling with psychiatric illnesses, as well as families, physicians and nursing homes faced with the challenge of caring for vulnerable seniors with dementia and other behavioral disorders, can confidently turn to the Mountainside Medical Center Geriatric Psychiatry Program for short-term, acute care solutions.  
This comprehensive program also includes a review of all medications used by the patient, known as a polypharmacology review, to look for possible drug interactions and side effects. If any concerns are identified, they are addressed by transitioning the patient from certain medications to other alternatives.  Drugs that are used to treat a wide array of medical conditions can actually create or exacerbate behavioral problems when taken in certain combinations or inadvertently misused. With 87% of people over the age of 65 taking multiple prescription and over-the-counter medications and people over age 75 taking an average of eight prescription drugs on a regular basis, the risk of such symptoms is great among the elderly.  
The ultimate goal is to stabilize patients so they can safely return to their place of residence.  For more information, click here.  
Juan Riestra, M.D. is the medical director of the Behavioral Health Department at Mountainside Medical Center


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