PRIMETIME: Emotional Makeup

Published 3:36 pm Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Getting older and gaining experience doesn’t mean things get easier.

According to a study by the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, depression affects approximately 15 out of every 100 adults over age 65 in the United States. The disorder affects a much higher percentage of people in hospitals and nursing homes.

For seniors who are having emotional issues, Southern Ohio Behavioral Health in Ironton has a program aimed at helping them cope. Called Golden Care, the program helps seniors in nursing homes deal with issues such as loss of independence, loss of home, and loss of health.

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According to Southern Ohio Behavioral Health’s Dr. W. Michael Dowdy, nursing home residents are oftentimes one of the most underserved populations in the field of mental health.

Being aware of the obvious need for mental health services for nursing home residents, Southern Ohio Behavioral Health developed a comprehensive treatment program several years ago.

The Golden Care Program puts a worker in the nursing home on a daily basis to provide treatment and care for residents. Services are provided at each nursing home and are tailored for the specific needs of the individual resident

“Having staff permanently assigned to specific facilities allows us to provide consistent quality care to residents,” said Erin Dowdy, a regional manager for Southern Ohio Behavioral Health.

The most common symptoms of late-life depression include: persistent sadness, feeling slowed down, excessive worries about finances and health problems, frequent tearfulness, weight changes, pacing and fidgeting, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating and physical symptoms such as pain or gastrointestinal problems.

In addition to its Golden Care program, Southern Ohio Behavioral Health provides out-patient services to children, teens and adults, provides services to school age children at their schools in Lawrence County, and recently launched its therapy dog program known as K-9 Care. Southern Ohio Behavioral Health accepts most major medical insurance plans, Ohio Medicaid and Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation coverage.

For more information about Southern Ohio Behavioral Health and its services, call (740) 533-0055 or visit its website at