Theodore J. Ruza, D.O.
Dr. Ruza is the Medical
Director of the Inpatient
Geropsychiatric Unit at
Depression is a serious illness affecting millions of older Americans. Unfortunately, many seniors never get the help they need. Often that’s because they don’t recognize the symptoms, or they mistakenly think depression is part of aging.
“Sadness is a natural response to the stressors often associated with older age,” says Theodore J. Ruza, D.O., Medical Director of the Inpatient Geropsychiatric Unit at Botsford Hospital. “It’s normal to grieve a spouse’s death or the loss of independence. But chronic depression that interferes with daily functioning is not a normal part of getting older.”
Team Approach Enhances Care
If you or an older loved one is struggling with depression, Botsford can help. Botsford’s Geropsychiatric Services is a unique program offering care for seniors with mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety and dementia. Our multidisciplinary team includes psychiatrists, psychologists, neuropsychologists, nurse practitioners and rehabilitation specialists who are specially trained to meet the unique health care needs of older patients. Both inpatient care and outpatient services are available.
Older people may have symptoms that are different from those in younger people, Dr. Ruza says. “Older people with depression are more likely to focus on physical symptoms than emotional pain," he explains. "They may complain of problems like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, light-headedness, headaches and a fast heart rate."
Depressed seniors sometimes stop taking their medications, quit eating or stop calling family and friends, Dr. Ruza says. They may visit their doctors much more often or stop going altogether, he says.
Back on Track
Treatments for depression include psychotherapy and medication. Physical and occupational therapy can help patients function better at home, Dr. Ruza says. The Botsford program also links seniors to community resources, such as home health care and advocacy groups that can provide additional information and support. “Botsford Hospital can help older people with mental health issues get their lives back,” Dr. Ruza says.
Talk with an expert
Geriatric specialists at the Senior Assessment Center, located at Botsford Commons, provide psychological, social, physical and diagnostic assessments. To schedule an appointment or to learn more about our programs call (248) 426-6930, Monday through Friday 10 am to 4 pm.