The geriatric population is on the rise as the Baby Boomer generation reaches 65. With that, comes an increase in the number of older adults with mental illness.
What is aging? What is the normal aging process, and what is cause for concern? On March 27, more than 200 people learned those answers and more at “The Aging Brain: Caring for Your Loved One and Yourself,” a Middlesex Health Women’s Wellness Fund event with Dr. Marilise Hyacinth.
Dr. Hyacinth is a Middlesex Health psychiatrist who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and the event helped members of the community learn to better cope with the challenges that come with caring for a loved one who is experiencing memory loss. It also helped them better deal with their own memory loss.
Dr. Hyacinth says aging is “characterized by progressive and broadly predictable changes that are associated with increased susceptibility to many diseases.” It is a biological process—not a disease. As such, some physical limitations and memory problems are expected. It becomes a problem when there is cognitive impairment that results in noticeable changes to a person’s normal, day-to-day routine day, such as personality changes and problem behaviors.
If you notice that a loved one is struggling with daily living tasks, such as dressing and feeding themselves, managing their money or keeping their medications straight, this is a sign that they may need extra care, and a geriatric psychiatrist like Dr. Hyacinth can help.
Dr. Hyacinth also spoke about how caregivers need to take care of themselves and ask for support as needed.
The event was one of three offered to members of the Women’s Wellness Fund as a benefit of supporting the Fund and priority women’s health projects each year.
The Women’s Wellness Fund
The Women’s Wellness Fund at Middlesex Health advocates for, educates about and funds priority health projects in the community.
In 2019, the fund will support the following projects:
- It will create and renovate wig rooms at Middlesex Health Cancer Center locations in Middletown and Westbrook for women experiencing hair loss as a result of cancer treatment.
- It will support Middlesex Health’s perinatal social work program, which connects pregnant women who face extreme circumstances with community resources that will help promote healthy pregnancies and healthy birth weights.
- It will work with the Middlesex County NAACP to conduct a health equity study, which will identify social determinants of health disparities that affect diverse communities and women of color.
For more information, visit middlesexhealth.org/womenswellnessfund.