Government of New Brunswick

Services for the Elderly

In response to the increasing number of older adults with complex needs, the Mental Health Services Division recognizes that these individuals require specialized mental health services. Some mental illnesses are unique to older adults, and may therefore require special consideration in diagnosis as well as in the treatment continuum. For instance, Alzheimer's disease, a type of dementia, is often associated with psychiatric or severe behaviour management problems, and affects many elderly individuals.

Mental Health Services for the Elderly is a specialized mental health service, primarily for elderly individuals who have serious mental disorders where treatment may be complicated by co-existing significant medical problems. This specialization also provides services to younger individuals who have a dementia associated with psychiatric or severe behavior management problems. The population served is perceived to be vulnerable due to a combination of psychiatric, medical and social factors, and requires the services of a multidisciplinary team.

Many of the individuals who are experiencing psychological distress or a decline or change in cognitive, behavioral, social and/or functional ability live in their own residences, in supportive and or subsidized housing or in adult residential facilities, including Special Care Homes and Nursing Homes. They may require admission and discharge from acute care psychiatric units, acute care medical units, geriatric medical units, Centracare, Restigouche Health Centre and other tertiary care units as part of their treatment continuum. Biopsychosocial considerations are used in formulating a psychiatric diagnosis and treatment plan. Continuity of care is emphasized.

Mental Health Services for the elderly include:

  • A variety of services to individuals such as:
    • case management,
    • assessments (including the Long Term Care assessment),
    • consultations,
    • supportive therapy,
    • medication monitoring,
    • discharge planning and
    • prevention.
  • A variety of specialized services such as, grief counseling and interventions in the areas of sexual abuse, physical and/or substance abuse.
  • Consultation/Education services to service providers within agencies, community groups, Adult Residential Facilities, Nursing Homes, families and the public at large.
  • Liaison function with the Regional Psychiatric Unit and any specialized geriatric assessment unit to ensure access and continuity of optimum resources such as:
    • Assessment and treatment
    • Timely and Efficient delivery of care
    • Planned discharges
    • Planned support in the community
    • Crisis intervention
    • Liaison function with primary partners such as Family and Community Services and Extra-Mural Services.
    • Follow-up