“Many people think of dementia solely as a condition that causes memory loss.
“That’s one reason family caregivers may be so surprised and upset when older relatives start having major psychiatric symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions or paranoia, even though they are common features of dementia.
“Another reason, said Linda Shumaker, a nurse who works with older adults with behavioral health problems, is that stigma has kept advocates and caregivers from talking openly about psychiatric problems that can increase stress and result in earlier placement in a nursing home.
“Shumaker, who works as outreach coordinator for the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition, a Harrisburg-based group (and a partner entity with the Pennsylvania Link to Aging and Disability Resources) seeking better care for elders with mental illness and addictions, was a speaker … ”
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