Yes, it is true. Sometimes memory loss in late life can be fixed!

Over the years I have often been asked by the elderly if they should be concerned about their memory loss and if they had dementia, because they could not remember everything they had to buy at the shops. Interestingly, the question often came from individuals who did not have dementia. These people lived independently and were fearful that their health would suddenly decline and that they would face moving into a nursing home. Many older adults are fearful of developing dementia. Individuals with dementia, on the other hand, rarely reported concerns with memory loss when asked as part of the psychological assessment “my memory is great, it has never been better!” is the response I often get. However, there was evidence of memory loss as those individuals had great difficulty describing the events that led them to moving into the facility.

Briefly, let’s review dementia, as often people have difficulty differentiating dementia and Alzheimer’s disease....

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How to Recognise Depression in Older People?

Have you ever wondered how depression in older people is diagnosed?

 Is it diagnosis the same as for younger people? Or, how is it different?

Are most older people depressed and is it a normal part of ageing?

Is everyone who sells their property and moves into a nursing home depressed?

 

Over the years I have delivered extensive training on recognising mental health symptoms in the elderly, particularly those who live in aged care facilities. I wanted to tap into this topic a bit more, as depression with the elderly can often be overlooked and masked by their other health conditions. Further, knowing that someone is depressed does not fix the problem – we need to implement strategies to help them with their emotions and offer the right type of support. In this article I will offer further background on depression in old age and offer some practical strategies to addressing it.

 

Depression is the most common mental health condition in late life. Older adults...

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Accessing Psychological Services in Nursing Homes

Hello Julie, I am a psychologist and I want to know how to work in a nursing home

Hi Julie, how do we get a psychologist to visit our facility? 

Hi Julie, my mum is in a nursing home and I need a psychologist to see her. She is so depressed. 

*****

If I got a dollar for every time I was asked how to get a psychologist to visit an aged care facility I would be a rich woman! 

 

Although it is so pleasing to hear awareness about mental health in older people it is so disheartening having to answer that there is limited funding to mental health services for older people in nursing homes. Why is that? 

 

Few issues come up

1. Older Australians in aged care are not entitled to Better Access to Mental Health, a scheme through Medicare which allows substantial rebates for accessing mental health treatment. This is something I have strongly advocated for over the last eight years and there has been no change in government ruling. There are other ways to obtain...

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Disentangling Stress in Aged Care

 

When you tell someone that you work in aged care the common response is “that must be so tough” or “good on you, it is not easy”. But, what exactly makes it “tough” or “not easy”? Dealing with clients, families or colleagues? Or, is it the combination of all those individuals and their unique personalities? Where do the problems stem and why do certain situations become stressful? Is it due to different personalities, varying skill set or the lack of information?   

Stress is common and unpredictable. We can all find ourselves unexpectedly in a stressful situation at work. One minute everything is fine and the next BAM. But how we deal with the situation can determine the outcome. There are two possible outcomes. First, the stress can accumulate over a period of time and increase the risk of developing burnout, or even anxiety or depression. Second, with the right support and training we can learn how to deal with...

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Can we Prevent Depression in Older People?

In recent years there has been a growing, and welcomed, attention to wellbeing in older adults. A number of government, research and media publications highlight the high prevalence of depression in older adults with poor physical health, particularly those who live isolated in their own homes and in nursing homes. The growing awareness highlights two facts - getting old AND having depression is not a normal part of ageing.

 While a number of articles have focused on the high prevalence of depression in older people little is done to suggest what can we do to minimise the effects of depressionHow do we 'cure'?

 

When discussing the cure for depression there are three important factors we need to examine. These are: strategies to prevent depression even starting, attempts to prevent depression from getting worse and strategies to prevent depression from returning.

 

But, before JUMP to strategies on how to fix depression once it is present, lets take a...

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