Mental Me – Mental You

Here are some helpful Mental Health tips from my book Along Comes Grandpa

  •  Have a signed Health Care Power of Attorney (POA) form. (Always have a copy accessible to you (home, car, purse, family member’s refrigerator). Even if you have given this document to a hospital before, you will need to give it again.)
  • Ask a lot of questions! Remember that there are no stupid questions!
  • Take notes. You might feel silly at the time, but it will help you remember what was said.
  • Ask if the facility has a geriatric psychiatrist.  Psychiatrists who work with “adults” cover patients age 18-100.  Dr’s focused in geriatric care have a better understanding of issues relating to the elderly.
  • If your family member is in a nursing home, it is their right to have you present during the evaluation.
  • Talk to the psychiatrist before the evaluation to share insights on family history and dynamics as well as personality quirks.
  • If something doesn’t seem right during the evaluation or treatment process, ask questions.  If you still don’t feel comfortable and are concerned for their well-being, it is your right as POA to have them transferred to a different facility.
  • Unless it’s an urgent situation, ALWAYS get a second opinion before starting any type of treatment or psychiatric medications.
  • Educate yourself. Find seminars, research on the internet or find books on the subject.
  • Don’t count on the doctor alone to monitor medication and reactions!  You know them the best so you need to be monitoring medications.  If this is not one of your strong suits then hire a home health agency or Geriatric Care Manager to do it. This is crucial as many psychotropic medications can cause lethargy or have dangerous side effects if not monitored.
  • If your family member is at home and begins to talk about killing themselves, don’t dismiss itcall 911.  The elderly have the highest completion rate for suicide. They have the means to follow through, especially men. It may seem extreme, but imagine if you didn’t react and they did follow through.
  •  It is your right to decline medication, treatments, and programs on behalf of your family member if they are not able to make those decisions. Be informed about what you are doing and why you are doing it, before you do it.
  • Don’t be embarrassed by erratic behavior or by a psychiatric diagnosis. You’re doing the right thing by getting them help!

Be an advocate! Mental illness is not anyone’s fault; it is a disease, just as cancer is a disease, and you don’t need to be embarrassed about it.

*If this information doesn’t currently apply to you be pro-active about locating the closest geriatric unit for mental health (then hope you never need it).

Find more helpful resources in my books. Visit: to order your copy today.

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
This entry was posted in caregiving and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Mental Me – Mental You

  1. I have been looking online for more than six
    minutes today, but I haven’t found an insightful article that comes close to your article.

    From my opinion, if only all site owners and blog owners would write great content as you do,
    the internet would be much more better than previously.


  2. Home Health Agency says:

    I like it very much. Its a very useful article. I like the way you explain the things. Keep posting. Thanks


  3. Pingback: Laagi Tujhse Lagan – October 27 2010 Mental Me – Mental You Some Herbal and Home-Made Sinusitis Remedies

  4. massage ivy says:

    Hello every one, here every person is sharing these experience,
    thus it’s good to read this blog, and I used to visit this blog daily.


  5. tora mechem says:

    It’s a good post.


  6. I dont know what to say. This blog is fantastic. Thats not really a really huge statement, but its all I could come up with after reading this. You know so much about this subject. So much so that you made me want to learn more about it. Your blog is my stepping stone, my friend. Thanks for the heads up on this subject.


Leave a Reply to massage ivy Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s