NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches Memorial Health is joining a growing trend of offering mental health services to the elderly. A new wing is now open where specialized psychiatric services for the elderly is offered.
East Texas News visited the site to find out why there's a need to treat aging adults for mental health problems.
The new Senior Behavioral Health Services wing is simply decorated to handle a very complicated issue.
"Mental health is one of those things that is often neglected and left until things really get bad," said Ben Odom, the program director.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates one in five people aged 65 years or older experience some type of mental health concern. Twelve percent rarely or never receive the support they need to get well.
In a worst case scenario suicidal thoughts are considered.
"If you pull too hard they go straight down," said Julia Smith, a community education coordinator.
Julia Smith markets the safety aspect of the hospital's new lock down wing.
"This is a behavioral unit so we have Plexiglas over the windows," Smith said. "Our hinges go from the very top all the way to the bottom. They can't put anything in between them."
Amanda Davis will oversee nurses who are trained to recognize the symptoms and causes of behavioral issues among the elderly.
"We deal with things you can't see on an X-ray or in your lab work or on a CAT-scan," said Amanda Davis, the facility's clinical nurse manager.
A team of nurses, social workers and recreational therapists attempt to bring patients out of depression and isolation. A treatment plan is established in 10 to 14 days.
"We want that community feeling," Smith said. "Everybody will be gathering in here or in our choir room."
But individual care is offered when needed.
"Their level of psychosis will determine whether or not they need one to one," said Hailey Y'Barbo, a social worker.
A treatment plan is established in 10 to 14 days. The goal is establishing happier lives.
Nacogdoches Memorial Health will take referrals from family and friends since they are often the ones who recognize symptoms first. Of course, doctors, nursing homes, and other hospitals can make referrals too.