Looking out for seniors’ mental health
Strengthening mental health services -
Aging can bring particular challenges for mental health. Myrtle MacPhee and her mental health teammates are here to help Islanders face those challenges.
MacPhee, an RN, is a Community Mental Health worker and Case Manager with the Queens County Seniors Mental Health Resource Team. She wants older adults and the people who care for them to know they can get help accessing the mental health services they need.
The Seniors Mental Health Resource Team is a multi-disciplinary team that provides specialized mental health services with seniors and their care givers/families who may be experiencing complex mental health problems. The Queens County team is based at Community Mental Health, McGill Centre, and consists of psychiatry, social work, and psychiatric nursing staff.
“Seniors can have a number of mental health challenges associated with aging. These might include grief, depression, anxiety, or even psychiatric symptoms associated with dementia,” she said.
Health PEI has a number of supports as part of its Mental Health Services, including a Seniors Mental Health Resource Team in all three counties.
The aim of the program is to reduce the incidents and impact of psychiatric symptoms, maintain or improve the quality of life of clients, their care givers and families, and assist seniors in maintaining independent living.
“The usual way we see someone is with a referral from their family doctor, although referrals can come from hospital, Home Care, Adult Protection, or self referral,” MacPhee says. “We sit down and talk to them to see where they are and how we can help them.”
Sometimes a person may not want help and it is the loved one or care giver that may benefit from the service. Elements of care include screening and guidance, assessment, therapy and treatment, care coordination, and time limited case management. Care may involve helping the older adult manage their medications by having them blister packed, meal preparation such as Meals on Wheels or Real Meals, or helping them navigate things like access to transportation, appointments with their family doctor, or whatever their needs are.
At any given time, the Charlottetown team has roughly 200 open files helping older Islanders address their mental health needs.
“We consider a case completed when someone is no longer in pressing need, and the mental health concerns that initiated the referral have stabilized. It’s important that people know we are there to help, and they can always contact us for help.”
The team is committed to providing holistic care and assisting seniors in achieving optimum level of functioning.