Geriatric Mental Health and Home Visits

By Ashley Barnes, M.S.

Geriatric Healthcare

Geriatric healthcare is the attentive medical care given to those over the age of 65 who are also referred to as seniors. Many individuals don’t seek geriatric healthcare until well into their 70s, 80s, or even 90s. A subspecialty in geriatric healthcare is geriatric psychiatry, as geriatric mental healthcare is a crucial aspect of geriatric healthcare in general. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) describes geriatric psychiatry as addressing the “biological and psychological aspects of normal aging, the psychiatric effect of acute and chronic physical illness, and the biological and psychosocial aspects of the pathology of primary psychiatric disturbances of older age” (APA, 2021). 

Main focal points in geriatric psychiatry pertain to the “prevention, evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of mental and emotional disorders in the elderly and improvement of psychiatric care for healthy and ill elderly patients” (APA, 2021). Some of the most common psychiatric concerns that present in this population entail mood disorders such as depression and neurocognitive disorders such as dementia. 

Supporting our Seniors

Seniors can greatly benefit from strong, supportive relationships and social networks. Connecting with others through volunteering opportunities, communities related to mutual interests such as art or music, or even fostering relationships through religious communities could be some ways seniors may strengthen their social circle. Developing a sense of community can help anyone feel supported and often incorporates shared interests and activities that give us a sense of purpose and motivation. 

Mental health professionals are crucial resources for those experiencing more severe and impairing symptomalogy. Fortunately, geriatric psychiatrists have focused their clinical attention and training on the concerns of our aging population, knowledgeable and experienced in treating their mental health concerns. Geriatric psychiatrists can prescribe medication to help geriatric patients manage and better cope with their symptoms, meet with family members or other physicians to coordinate care, and some can even provide psychotherapy along with medication management. 

Home Visits 

Home visits can be a huge benefit to seniors who are home-bound and have limited transportation options. In an home visit, a psychiatrist visits a senior patient in their own living space as opposed to the seniors having their visit in the psychiatrist’s office. Home visits reduce loneliness and isolation amongst seniors, as sessions provide socialization and address mental health concerns simultaneously. 

Home visits tend to improve patient participation and engagement during sessions, which in turn helps improve mental health outcomes (like a reduction of depression symptoms). Further, seniors may feel more comfortable expressing themselves in the personal, familiar setting of their own home. 

At the Mental Health Center, Lydia Ann, MD offers at-home sessions coming from Van Nuys, California; Dr. Ann charges her standard session rate for the commute to a patient’s home, the visit itself, and the commute back. Additionally, Miriam Winthrop, MD offers at-home visits for geriatric patients, also charging her standard session rate for the commute to a patient’s home, the visit itself, and the commute back. For more information, feel free to contact our team at (310)601-9999.


Let Us Support You


Here at the  Mental Health Center we have skilled geriatric psychiatrists ready to support you and your loved ones.


  • Jooyeon Lee, MDDr. Lee is a psychiatrist specializing in general adult and geriatric psychiatry. She has worked with patients from diverse backgrounds in various settings including academic institutions, city/county hospitals, and the Veterans Administration Hospital. She is board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and board-certified in Geriatric Psychiatry. Dr. Lee was selected for the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry Honors Scholars Program for Residents in 2017. Her work has been published in journals including Experimental Gerontology, Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, and the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.
  • Lydia Ann, MDDr. Lydia Ann is a psychiatrist specializing in general adult psychiatry and a current geriatric psychiatry fellow. She has extensive experience treating patients of various backgrounds in multiple settings, including outpatient, inpatient, partial hospitalization, crisis residential program, emergency department, and corrections. Due to this broad experience, she emphasizes the importance of care coordination and integration of one’s entire support system to bring excellent, individualized care to each patient. Dr. Ann is completing further specialized training in geriatric psychiatry fellowship at UCLA.
  • Miriam Winthrop, MD – Dr. Miriam Winthrop is a board-certified psychiatrist specializing in adult and geriatric psychiatry. She believes in taking a holistic approach to addressing mental health. In addition to her expertise in the use of medications, she has extensive training in multiple types of psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral and insight-oriented modalities. Dr. Winthrop has extensive experience working with a wide range of issues, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, dementia-related concerns, and end-of-life issues. She received her medical degree from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She completed her residency in adult psychiatry at LAC+USC Medical Center. She completed her fellowship in geriatric psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. She was selected as an Honors Scholar in the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry and received the award for excellence in psychotherapy from the Austen Riggs foundation.

Online Resources.

  • Health in Aging – a service from the American Geriatrics Society gives information for older adults/family members regarding mental health concerns.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Symptoms – a resource from the National Institute on Aging provides articles and advice for coping with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s.
  • Cognitive Aging Efforts – created by the American Psychological Association, this site offers up-to-date webinars and informative publications regarding common geriatric concerns.



American Psychiatric Association. (2021). Geriatric Psychiatry. American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved December 17, 2021, from