The changing face of seniors' mental health care: geriatric psychiatry symposium

Nov. 01, 2011

Currently, 13 per cent of Canada's population is 65 years of age or older. By the year 2016, this number will increase to 16 per cent at a population of six million. Statistics also show that seniors aged 85 and older are the fastest growing segment of our population. As our country continues to age, mental health services for seniors are becoming a priority for those who care for them, including family members and health care professionals.

The changing face of seniors’ mental health care is the focus of the 9th annual geriatric symposium conference, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Joel Sadavoy, psychiatrist at Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital and professor of psychiatry at University of Toronto, who will discuss supporting informal caregivers of individuals living with dementia and review evidence-based thinking regarding innovative interventions.
Over 125 health care professionals are gathering at the Nov. 2 conference to hone their knowledge and learn about the latest developments in mental health care for the elderly from some of the greatest minds in geriatric psychiatry.

At total of 12 workshops presented by health care professionals from St. Joseph’s Health Care London, London Health Sciences Centre and The University of Western Ontario (Western) will be offered throughout the day. Topics and learning objectives include: resiliency factors as they contribute to the psychological health and well-being among the elderly; assisting older adults recovering from mental illness to develop meaning of chosen roles and activities; the link between cardiovascular conditions and late life depression and more.

“There is still a good deal to be learned about interventions to better ease the psychiatric distress of the elderly,” says Dr. Lisa VanBussel, psychiatrist and physician leader of Regional Mental Health Care’s geriatric psychiatry program and chair, division of geriatric psychiatry at Western. “We are pleased to be bringing together so many health care practitioners who understand that maintaining mental health among seniors means significantly impacting their overall well-being and improving quality of life.”

The best opportunity for visuals and interviews is from 8:30 to 10:00 am. Keynote speaker, Dr. Joel Sadavoy will be presenting from 8:30 to 9:45 am in the Crystal Ballroom. Following which Dr. Lisa VanBussel, psychiatrist and physician leader at Regional Mental Health Care London’s geriatric psychiatry program, will be available for interviews.

Geriatric psychiatry symposium
When: Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Where: Best Western Lamplighter Inn, London, Ontario
Time: 8:20 am to 3:45 pm

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For more information, please contact:
Renee Sweeney, Communication Consultant
Communication and Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Phone: 519 646-6100 ext. 47788

Keynote speaker
Dr. Joel Sadavoy, Psychiatrist, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto
Dr. Sadavoy is the Sam and Judy Pencer and Family Chair in Applied General Psychiatry, Director of the Cyril and Dorothy Joel and Jill Reitman Centre for Alzheimer’s Support and Training, Head of Community and Geriatric Services, Mount Sinai Hospital, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto.

The organizations
St. Joseph’s Health Care London is leading patient care, teaching and research centre in Canada with a distinguished legacy of service to London, Southwestern Ontario and the veterans of Canada, dating back more than 130 years. St. Joseph’s five key role areas include acute/ambulatory care, complex care and veterans care, long-term care, rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics and specialized mental health care. Facilities and services including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas are part of the St. Joseph’s family. Our research arm, the Lawson Health Research Institute, continues to direct their research to the development of new knowledge that is continually being applied directly to patient care. St. Joseph’s. St. Joseph’s is affiliated with the University of Western Ontario.

The Geriatric Psychiatry Program at St. Joseph’s Regional Mental Health Care London provides specialized care and support to aging clients who suffer from late onset mental illnesses or severe behavioural responses. The program focuses on assessment, treatment, rehabilitation, prevention, family/community support and education. The multidisciplinary team provides a bio-psychosocial approach to care which encompasses the mental, physical, spiritual, cultural, psychological, and social aspects of aging.

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