Mischelle, a client of the PEI Older program, works through her bipolar disorder

“Mischelle” is a client of the PEI Older program. She was hospitalized at age 74 with symptoms of mania. She has had Bipolar Disorder since her early 20′s, but has always managed her illness successfully and has never needed inpatient treatment. When I met Mischelle in the hospital she was very shaken that her illness had taken a turn like this. She had very little knowledge about mental health services and was frightened by her experience in the hospital. She was stabilized on medication fairly quickly and was released back to independent living with encouragement to work with the PEI program.

Initially Mischelle was reluctant to work with “mental health,” however she was convinced that she did not want to return to the hospital. I worked with Mischelle to ensure she had follow up care, both with her PCP and with a psychiatrist. I also assisted her with grocery shopping and setting up an in-home caregiver, which she learned were stressors that contributed to her current instability. I provided Mischelle with education regarding her illness, medication and also general assistance with stress reduction and adjusting to aging. When Mischelle was psychiatrically stable, I introduced her to a Senior Companion. She now attends weekly social events with her Senior Companion and enjoys outings such as meals in restaurants, shopping, taking walks and going to art galleries. I work closely with the Senior Companion to ensure that Mischelle remains stable. In the few instances in which she has displayed symptoms of her mood disorder, I have provided her with additional support to prevent an acute episode.

Without the PEI program, I believe Mischelle would have required additional inpatient hospitalizations and would have likely lost her housing. Instead, she has excellent support in the community and is educated and empowered to manage her Bipolar Disorder.

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