Mental Illness

Biggest Challenge: Dealing with mental illness

--Nancy

Response from DM: 

Dear Nancy,

Mental illness covers a wide range of concepts, from long-term mental problems starting early in one’s life, to a more recent onset of difficulties. In my book Elder Care Made Easier, Appendix A, I mention over 40 early warning signs that may be subtle indicators of mental illness.

Whatever the diagnosis, all stages of mental illness affect the individual, as well as those involved with him or her. These individuals, as well as their caregivers and family members, are all in need of support. Each individual experiences these changes and behaviors differently, but all are touched by the transition. Doctors, therapists, social workers, family members, and caregivers need to work together for the care and safety of the individual. When possible, incorporate the mentally ill individual into the decision making process. They may be quite capable of letting you know what they are experiencing and how you can help them. I personally have learned a lot by being very straightforward with an individual who is sometimes frightened or bewildered by what they are experiencing. When they are given an opportunity to articulate their feelings, concerns, and fears and also know that someone is listening, it helps them to maintain control over their own lives. Being able to maintain some level of independence and being able to make choices is what life is all about, no matter what stage of life we may be in.

Sincerely,

Dr. Marion

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