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Behavioral Health Services

We have specialized programs to support you through challenges, so you can be your best self.

Behavioral and mental health are a part of overall health. Whether you or a loved one needs this support as part of your home care recovery or has a disease that affects how the brain works, VNS Health is here for you.

Behavioral Health and Age

Aging can bring challenges that affect mental health. Isolation can lead to loneliness, which can lead to depression. Anxiety and memory loss are common. And older adults are often reluctant to ask for help. But if left unaddressed, these conditions can affect physical well-being as well as quality of life. They can also put unneeded burdens on caregivers. 

Despite this, the behavioral health needs of older adults often go unnoticed or are misdiagnosed.

VNS Health can help you manage the emotional toll of an illness or injury. We also offer specialized community behavioral health programs in certain areas for different age groups.

We can also support people with mood disorders and their caregivers.

Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias

“Dementia” is an umbrella term for loss of memory, language, and other thinking skills that impact your loved one’s day-to-day life. Dementia is not one disease. Instead, it’s a wide range of conditions, one of which is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia, making up 60–80% of all cases of dementia. Your loved one’s risk of Alzheimer’s and related dementias increases greatly with age. These disorders can impact their behavior, feelings, relationships, and quality of life.

What are the signs of Alzheimer’s and related dementias?

Your loved one may have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia if they have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Increased erratic behaviors, including
      • Agitation, aggression, or resistance
      • Wandering
      • Screaming
      • Sexual inappropriateness
      • Paranoia or suspicion
  • Difficulty with daily activities
  • Unstable walk and/or history of falls
  • Trouble speaking or swallowing
  • Difficulty taking medications as prescribed

People with dementia are also at risk of frequent hospitalizations.

How can VNS Health fill gaps in care?

Dementia can be challenging for both you and your loved one. VNS Health can provide additional support by:

  • Assessing their mood and behavior using research-based screening tools
  • Creating a unique treatment plan based on their needs
  • Educating you and your loved one about dementia and how it can progress
  • Promoting independence, positive behaviors, and quality of life
  • Teaching ways to manage daily activities
  • Addressing difficult behaviors
  • Improving home safety, strength, and fall prevention
  • Managing medication, including providing ways to be more consistent
  • Helping with speech and swallowing problems
  • Coordinating their care and monitoring their condition
  • Connecting them with community resources, such as support groups

Anxiety Disorders

Occasional worry is a part of life. But constant anxiety that interferes with day-to-day life and creates or worsens physical symptoms may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. The stresses of aging can lead your loved one to experience an anxiety disorder. This can be due to fears or concerns about aging, injuries, finances, increased dependence on others, and death.

What are the signs of anxiety disorders?

Your loved one may have an anxiety disorder if they have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Excessive worry
  • Anxiety about what might happen
  • Agoraphobia (a fear of places that could be difficult to escape)
  • Panic attacks (overwhelming episodes of anxiety that last several minutes and may include physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate and difficulty breathing)
  • Physical symptoms, such as:
    • Sweating
    • Heart palpitations (the feeling that the heart has skipped beats)
    • Dry mouth
    • Muscle tension
    • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
    • Difficulty sleeping

People with anxiety disorders are at an increased risk of hospitalization. If they are recovering from another illness, anxiety disorders may worsen symptoms.

How can VNS Health fills gaps in care?

Anxiety disorders can make your loved one uncomfortable physically and behaviorally. VNS Health can provide additional support by:

  • Assessing their mood and behavior using research-based screening tools
  • Creating a unique treatment plan based on their needs
  • Educating you and your loved one about their condition and how to self-manage symptoms through approaches like relaxation, mindfulness, and self-esteem building
  • Providing supportive counseling and goal setting
  • Coordinating their care and monitoring their condition
  • Managing medication, including providing ways to be more consistent
  • Connecting them with community resources, such as support groups

Depression

Depression — also known as major depressive disorder — is when feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or decreased energy last for weeks or months. Although depression is common in older adults because of factors like social isolation, loss of loved ones, medications, or changes in health status, it’s not a normal part of aging. With the right support, your loved one can experience reduced feelings of depression and improved quality of life.

What are the signs of depression?

Your loved one may have depression if they have one or more of these symptoms:

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt
  • Lack of energy
  • Inability to enjoy what they once loved
  • Severe appetite or sleep changes

People with depression are at risk of worsened symptoms and frequent hospitalizations.

How can VNS Health fill gaps in care?

Depression can significantly impact your loved one’s quality of life, both physically and emotionally. VNS Health can provide additional support by: 

  • Assessing their mood and behavior using research-based screening tools
  • Creating a unique treatment plan based on their needs
  • Educating you and your loved one about their condition and how to self-manage symptoms through approaches like relaxation, mindfulness, and self-esteem building
  • Providing supportive counseling and goal setting
  • Coordinating their care and monitoring their condition
  • Managing medication, including providing ways to be more consistent 
  • Connecting them with community resources, such as support groups

Community Behavioral Health Programs

Coping with behavioral health conditions like depression, anxiety, and dementia can make it difficult for both you and your loved one. VNS Health offers a wide range of community programs that provide behavioral health support for the following groups:

  • Older adults 
  • Children and families
  • People of all ages who are experiencing a mental health crisis or need extra support in their care

These programs have the same goal — to provide consistent, coordinated behavioral health services to people who need them, including loved ones. Many of these programs are collaborations between VNS Health and state or city agencies, and others are partnerships with health and behavioral health agencies. 

Learn more about VNS Health community behavioral health programs.

Related Services

Community Behavioral Health Programs

Comprehensive support for people of all ages with mental health issues or in crisis.

Alzheimer's & Dementia Care

Expert care for those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s and support for their caregivers.

Choose VNS Health for your loved one’s care.