Remembering seniors during Mental Health Week
Remembering seniors during Mental Health Week
Posted on 05/09/2018

Mental Health Awareness Week:
Let’s not forget Seniors


Each May, Mental Health Awareness Week shines a spotlight on awareness and education, as well as pushing back at stigma. While the month is focused on the broad area of mental health, Dr. Geoff Daniel, Geriatric Psychiatrist with Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care and the North Simcoe Muskoka Specialized Geriatric Services program, hopes we can remember our seniors this week. 

“Mental health forgets our older adults and geriatric health care forgets mental health,” Dr. Daniel explains. “It is important that mental health planners and providers do not lump the geriatric population in with the adult population, let alone ignore them. It is important that geriatric medicine remembers mental health as well.

There are approximately more than 75,000 seniors living in North Simcoe Muskoka. It’s projected by 2020, more than 10,000 seniors will be living with dementia. The care these older adults will receive in the next two years, will mean a mix of health care and mental health care. 

Dr. Daniel believes the time is now to start changing how we think of aging and the care of the elderly.
“This includes addressing blind spots and advocating for older adults in our communities. Examples of the importance of differentiating older adults from adults in mental health include that depression is not normal in our seniors, and that aging doesn’t necessarily lead to Alzheimer’s.”

Dr. Daniel and the team at the North Simcoe Specialized Geriatrics Services program, with Waypoint Centre as the lead agency, encourages a hand in hand approach to senior care. The leadership team has a geriatrician, a geriatric psychiatrist and a number of mental health professionals working to bridge the gaps. 

During Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s important to remember our seniors and have them assessed if their behaviour seems different. Education, advocacy and awareness are the key to making a difference in even just one person. 

For more information on how SGS is working to improve the care of frail seniors, visit www.nsmsgs.ca