According to a University of Calgary researcher, there are little to no services for Calgary’s seniors who are suffering from forms of mental illness.
Annette Lane, a faculty of nursing PhD candidate, has spent the past year researching how elderly Calgarians access nursing homes and assisted living arrangements.
What Lane found was that placing seniors with mental health illness into these living situations can be difficult for both the families and their health-care providers.
“The criteria to get into these facilities is often based on physical health, and many of these seniors show good signs of physical health,” Lane said. “There’s not enough assessment for mental health.”
Lane says many of Calgary’s mentally-ill seniors are ending up in mental health units in Calgary hospitals, taking up bed space, when they could be housed in special nursing home units.
“We have around 4,000 beds available in nursing homes, none are for those with mental illness — some of these people do eventually get placed but many are waiting in hospitals,” Lane said.