Baptist Health Senior Care Behavioral Health Celebrates 20 Years of Caring for Aging Community

FORT SMITH, Ark. – This month marks the 20th year of Baptist Health Senior Care Behavioral Health-Fort Smith providing excellent behavioral and mental health services to the area’s aging population. 

The specially-trained physicians, nurses, mental health professionals, rehabilitation specialists and case workers at Baptist Health’s 23-bed inpatient geriatric psychiatry unit provide diagnoses and customized treatment plans for adults, ages 55 and older, experiencing acute mental health problems. 

Those conditions can be neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or more common issues such as anxiety disorders, dementia, depression or sleep disorders. Symptoms of a mental health issue in a senior may include social isolation, appetite changes, emotional outbursts, confusion, anxiousness and lack of attention to personal hygiene and health. Unfortunately, statistics suggest many mental health issues in older adults go undiagnosed. 

“Depending on the generation they were raised in, many patients and their families may incorrectly assume depression or memory loss is just a normal part of aging,” said Crystal Lougin, MS, LPC-S, director of behavioral health for Baptist Health in Fort Smith. “But with proper diagnosis,  treatment, and support an older adult’s quality of life and ability to function can greatly improve, which can also reduce stress on their caregivers and relatives.” 

While the patients are hospitalized to treat a psychiatric condition, they can also receive an array of services, if needed, including medical evaluation, physical therapy, occupational therapy and recreation therapy. 

“A unit specific to geriatrics is very important due to the shift in the population and prevalence of cognitive decline in the elderly,” Lougin said. “Baby Boomers make up a large percentage of the population which increases the need for resources like these.”

From family therapy and education to social services, the compassionate staff at Baptist Health can help patients and their caregivers through the mental health challenges we face as we age. For more information, call (479) 441-5601 or visit


About Baptist Health

For more than a century, Baptist Health has delivered All Our Best in health care through Christian compassion and innovative services. Baptist Health is Arkansas’ most comprehensive health care organization with more than 250 points of access that include 11 hospitals; urgent care centers; a senior living community; over 100 primary and specialty care clinics; a college with studies in nursing and allied health; a graduate residency program; and access to virtual care anytime, anywhere. It is also the largest private not-for-profit health care organization based in Arkansas, providing care through the support of approximately 11,000 employees, groundbreaking treatments, renowned physicians and community outreach programs. For more information about Baptist Health, visit, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or download the myBaptistHealth app