Some older adults with neurologic conditions experience behavior changes, such as being quick to anger over small disappointments. With the help of our geriatric behavioral health experts, these problems don’t have to stand in the way of living a good quality of life.
We are among the few neurology programs in Michigan whose team includes geriatric psychiatrists. We get to the source of mental health issues and problem behaviors and use a personalized approach to treat them.
What Is geriatric psychiatry?
Geriatric psychiatrists detect and treat mental health problems that come with aging.
There are many reasons a person may experience these issues, including:
- Neurologic diseases that cause memory loss or impair thinking
- Medication side effects and harmful combinations of drugs
- Concerns over other medical conditions, including diabetes and heart disease
- Changes in physical health
- Social concerns, including the loss of loved ones and isolation
Mental health issues we treat
Issues we help address include:
- Depression lasting more than two weeks
- Loss of appetite
- Picking at skin
- Refusal to communicate
- Unexplained anger or agitation
Geriatric psychiatry services at Henry Ford: Why choose us?
Our team includes experienced geriatric psychiatrists who completed additional fellowship training. These specialists care for patients with memory loss from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and mental health issues, like anxiety. Treatments decrease problem behaviors and help your loved one find healthier ways to cope with illness and life changes.
Highlights of our program include:
- Easy access: If your loved one shows concerning behaviors like unexplained crying spells, our memory care specialists refer them to our geriatric psychiatrist. In some cases, we see new patients the same day. These services are available to any person experiencing mental health issues due to aging, not just older adults.
- Coordination: Our geriatric psychiatrists work closely with other specialists in our memory disorders clinic. We are in regular communication to keep care for problems such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia moving forward. Get more information about our memory clinic.
- Comprehensive evaluation: Our specialists get to know your loved one, including details about their physical, neurologic and mental health. We thoroughly review all of the medications they are taking. We may also perform neuropsychology evaluations to learn how neurologic challenges affect their daily life.
- Appropriate therapies: Our careful attention to your loved one’s individual needs helps them get relief and stay safe. A very small dose of Ritalin helps adults who have lost interest in food start eating again. Or we may replace drugs causing harmful behaviors with alternatives that do not.
- Virtual care options: Your loved one may be eligible to see our experts through virtual visits. Many patients enjoy the convenience and flexibility of having appointments from the comfort of home. Virtual visits may be an option if your loved one is unable to leave the house or has difficulty traveling to our clinic for appointments. Learn more about virtual care.
Support for family caregivers
When your loved one is hurting, you hurt too. Henry Ford’s family caregiver support services help you heal. Our caring specialists answer questions about practical matters like medical bills, and offer referrals to helpful community resources. Explore our C.A.R.E. Program.
Our geriatric psychiatry services
We use a variety of techniques to determine the cause of your loved one’s problems. We then develop a personalized plan to manage them and get relief.
Your loved one’s care may include:
- Medications: We may recommend medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs. In some cases, we change the dose of existing medications to reduce side effects.
- Behavioral therapy: Our experts help your loved one explore thoughts and feelings that may be contributing to worrisome behaviors. We teach coping mechanisms and encourage new ways of thinking to address them. Get more information about our behavioral health services.
- Monitoring: We stay in regular contact with your loved one to monitor their progress. We discuss medications to ensure they are taking them correctly, and doses are appropriate for their changing needs. We share findings with family caregivers as appropriate.
- Lifestyle recommendations: Simple lifestyle changes may slow the progression of neurologic conditions while boosting mood and energy. We may recommend gentle exercises like walking, or routines that help your loved one get a good night’s rest. Other recommendations may include a brain-healthy diet.