work with diverse
may include people
with mental health
While most caregivers will work elderly or aging adults, some will work with other populations that also
You may work with people with mental health problems.
You may work with the following mental health problems as a caregiver
Anxiety Disorders: All of us experience anxiety from time to time. A person with an anxiety disorder
will have such a high level of anxiety that coping with life’s challenges may be too difficult for the person.
He may use a variety of coping mechanisms, some of which might be harmful to the person or to others.
Anxiety disorders include the four most common forms: Panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive
disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Any of these disorders may make it impossible for the person
to live a normal, productive life.
a severe, chronic
Schizophrenia: This is a severe, chronic and disabling mental health disorder. It typically begins in the
late teens to the 20s or 30s. Symptoms of this disorder include delusions, hallucinations, paranoia and
psychosis. Individuals with schizophrenia may work and be independent while taking appropriate
medication. Medications have side effects that can be unpleasant, however, causing many with this
disorder to discontinue their medication, and their symptoms to reoccur. As they age, individuals with
schizophrenia may look like a lot like a person with Alzheimer’s disease. Many of the same tools work
with these individuals – distraction, humor, reassurance, and not challenging their reality.
Individuals with bi-
polar disorder may
be mostly manic or
can occur in many
Mood Disorders: these typically include bi-polar disorder (what we used to call manic-depressive
disorder) and serious depression. Individuals with bi-polar disorder may be mostly manic (high energy,
racing thoughts, irritability, restlessness) or mostly depressive (hopelessness, loss of interest in life,
decreased energy, suicidal thoughts or actions). Serious depression occurs in many adults, including older
adults. It can frequently be very successfully treated with medication.