Geriatric Mental Health Foundation’s Symposium and
Reception with Shelley Fabares
Television and movie actress Shelley Fabares will speak at the Geriatric
Mental Health Foundation’s evening session, “One Family’s
Struggle with Alzheimer’s,” on Sunday, March 12. The
session will be held as part of the 2006 Annual Meeting of the American
Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. Fabares, whose mother developed
Alzheimer’s disease, will discuss her role as primary caregiver
and her family’s experiences. The actress played Donna Reed’s
daughter on “The Donna Reed Show,” and went on to star
in three movies with Elvis Presley, and later in the Emmy Award
winning sitcom “Coach” with Craig T. Nelson. She was
also a top recording artist with the hit single “Johnny Angel.”
Off-camera, Fabares has advocated on behalf of families with Alzheimer’s
disease, and served on the national board of the Alzheimer’s
Association and testified before congressional committees on the
need for increased funding for Alzheimer’s research. (For
more information, visit www.aagpmeeting.org/highlights.html
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)
2006 Symposium to Address Mental Health Needs of Older
The Geriatric Mental Health Foundation will sponsor a session titled,
“Mental Health of Older Latinos: Issues of Cultural Competency
for the Geriatric Psychiatrist” at the 2006 Annual Meeting
of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. The session,
designed to help clinicians understand how older Latinos express
and interpret their symptoms of mental illness, will be co-chaired
by Foundation Chair Gary Kennedy, M.D., and Vice-Chair Martha Bruce,
Latinos, which now constitute the largest ethnic group in the United
States and the fastest growing segment of the U.S. older adult population,
face significant hurtles obtaining mental health care. Older Latinos
are less likely to receive mental health care services than non-Hispanics.
Barriers to quality care include the difficulty accessing Spanish-speaking
health professionals and cultural differences in expressing symptoms
and preferences for treatment.
Geriatric Mental Health Foundation Consumer Forum
The Foundation co-sponsored a consumer forum in downtown San Diego
in March 2005 in conjunction with the American Association for Geriatric
Psychiatry’s Annual Meeting. This Forum, which was designated
as an official White House Conference on Aging event, focused on
the barriers faced by older adult mental health consumers in obtaining
quality mental health care and solutions to those barriers. More
than 100 consumers and providers discussed access to care, stigma
associated with mental illness, discrimination, and caregiving,
among other issues. Recommendations from the Forum
were presented to the White House Conference on Aging.
Author David Shenk Featured Speaker of 2005 Foundation
During a Foundation-sponsored symposium in March 2005, author David
Shenk discussed how his interest in Alzheimer’s disease led
him to write The Forgetting: A Portrait of Alzheimer's Disease.
Following the talk, held in conjunction with the American Association
for Geriatric Psychiatry’s 2005 Annual Meeting in San Diego,
a reception and book signing was held for attendees.
New Depression Materials for Consumers
A Guide to Mental
Illness in Older Age: Recognizing and Overcoming Depression
was published by the Foundation and is available through this website.
This consumer tool is intended as a recovery kit to assist consumers
with identification, treatment, and payment for mental health services
associated with late-life depression.
Upcoming Brochures for Consumers
The following brochures will be available on the Foundation’s
website in late 2005 and 2006:
A Guide to Healthy Aging will focus on maintaining mental
health in older age and will identify preventive tips, risk factors,
warning signs, and resources.
A Guide to Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Misuse will help
families and caregivers recognize the signs of alcohol and/or prescription
drug abuse in the elderly.
A Guide to Quality Care and Selecting Nursing Homes will
be a resource for caregivers and families of consumers, providing
them with the tools they need to make an educated choice in selecting
a nursing home.
Roundtables on a National Initiative To Eliminate the Stigmas
of Mental Illness and Aging
The Foundation worked with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and hosted two roundtable
discussions in 2003 and 2004 on stigma associated with geriatric
mental health. A diverse group of participants—including consumers,
advocates, health care providers, media representatives, and researchers—convened
to formulate a national strategy focused on public information,
media messages, provider education, and consumer empowerment.