The podcast for this topic aired on March 30, 2023

Aging adults

Geriatric care

Confusing emergency room full of noises

“Gina, they are talking about me. You need to go over there.”

Delusions, paranoia and confusion

Exacerbated by a hospital stay due to pneumonia

On top of Parkinson’s Disease

Dementia is misunderstood

Some people think all dementia is Alzheimer’s

When in fact, there are many types of dementia and they manifest in different ways

Education, knowledge and experience

Laking even in health care professionals

And the people who are most hands on with the patients have the least amount of education

Why is that?

Shouldn’t the people with the most education regarding dementia, Parkinson’s, mental illness,…

Be the ones who spend the most time with the patients

Instead of behind desks, pushing papers

Geriatric care and acute care rehabilitations hospital juxtaposed with behavioral health inpatient care

I travel back and forth between caring for my father and my child

The Sandwich Generation

Parenting children, parents, and myself

At 79 and 81 my parents need my help more than ever before

Roles reversed

A new chapter of my life

My father has needed more attention since his Parkinson’s diagnosis, hip surgery, back surgeries

And now after being hospitalized 10 days due to pneumonia

Physical illness affects the mind

The brain is part of our body

Dementia is exacerbated by other medical conditions and acute illness

Dementia is a progressive illness

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological disorder

Navigating aging and the loss of independence

In the context of my professional experience working in adult and geriatric rehabilitations

But this is my father!

And this is my child

Who suffers in part due to side effects of medications

Medications that can cause the same effects of the things they are intended to treat

Did you know that antidepressants can increase depression especially in children and adolescents

Did you know that antipsychotics can cause psychosis?

Would we take a medication for cancer or heart disease that could lead to more cancer or heart disease?

Or do we…

The brain is part of the body

And until we stop separating mental illness from physical illness the stigma remains

Mental illness can and certainly does manifest in physical illness

The brain is part of the body

When someone suffers from mental illness it is because the brain is not functioning properly

Just like when you have heart disease, the arteries are clogged or the heart is malfunctioning

“Most scientists believe that mental illnesses result from problems with the communication between neurons in the brain (neurotransmission). For example, the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin is lower in individuals who have depression.”

National Library of Medicine: Information about Mental Illness and the Brain

When a child enters the hospital due to mental illness, they are labeled as behavioral health patients

An admission to the hospital for mental illness is usually due to the behaviors that manifest because of the brain malfunctioning

The system has different rules when you are in the emergency department for mental illness

Some of those rules make sense like restricting objects that can be used to hurt themselves or others

“For youth ages 10-14, suicide is the second leading cause of death.”

National Library of Medicine

Yet, the rules can be ridiculous in the context of how they manifest

No knives allowed also means no plastic knives for cutting food

Yet, a plastic fork has a sharper edge than a plastic knife

My child was given a chicken breast with a plastic fork and spoon

With no way to cut the meat, she had to pick the entire breast up with the fork and eat it like meat on a stick

No personal electronics allowed


Which can make sense in the context of drug abuse, negative influence of peers, abuse, and to minimize cyber bullying

Yet, in 2023, how do most of us communicate?

Being disconnected from the rest of the world, from friends and family

Is that really in the interest of a person’s mental health?

Someone with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has intrusive thoughts that lead to the compulsive behaviors

Having the ability to distract the mind from the intrusive thoughts can be a temporary coping strategy

Taking away the tool that the person with OCD might use to occupy their mind

Taking away the familiar comforts of home

Is this really in their best interests for their mental health?


Tips for coping with anxiety include:

Be physically active,

Eat health foods

Use stress management and relaxation techniques

Cut back on drinking caffeinated beverages


Keep a journal

From the Mayo clinic, Tips for coping with anxiety include

Isn’t it ironic that eating healthy foods is top on the list and yet it is one area where hospitals consistently fail.

When will they realize that the food they are providing is contributing to the problem?

When will we wake up and take action and make needed changes?

If not you, then who?

If not know, then when?


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